Apple's unveils new iPhone features, products at annual showcase

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According to Strategy Analytics, in Q4 2016 almost 4 million such speakers were sold globally, of which Amazon commanded an 88% market share. Amazon and Google are running away with the market that the Echo helped create.

Apple Inc.'s first major new product for two years, the HomePod speaker, marks the biggest effort yet from the technology company to use its Siri digital assistant to keep customers wedded to a growing palette of products and services.

The new Apple HomePod appears to be the technology company's own version of Amazon Echo and Google Home, with similar voice assistant features to Amazon's Alexa.

Apple is officially jumping into the home speaker market.

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Third, Apple revealing the device several months ahead of the holiday season without the ability to pre-order looks too much like their hand has been forced by the popularity of Echo and Home devices.

"As the iPhone reaches a point of near saturation in mature markets and replacement rates continue to slow, Apple must find new ways to lock in users".

With so many low-cost Bluetooth speakers already on the market, I think Apple might have a hard time carving out a niche.

Schiller said the HomePod will be deeply integrated with the Apple Music streaming music service. Considering both Amazon and Google smart speakers are available in the market for a lot longer, they offer greater functionality which ranges from ordering a pizza to calling a cab or even reading out recipes!

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The voice-activated loudspeaker is powered by Apple's virtual assistant Siri, who can respond to users questions and commands around the home. This fall, that will be no more as an Amazon video app will finally arrive on Apple TV.

Apple has announced the HomePod, a wireless speaker for the home that delivers quality audio and uses spatial awareness to sense its location in a room and automatically adjust the audio.

"There is so much momentum building around these speakers that it would be hard for Apple not to come out with one", said industry analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy. It will also be more expensive than Sonos's entry-level multiroom speaker, the Play:1, and the similarly priced SoundTouch 10 by Bose. This makes Amazon's speaker more functional and versatile.

Apple's HomePod comes with seven tweeters arrayed inside the cylindrical handy speakers.

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HomePod will be available for $349 starting in December initially in Australia, the United Kingdom and the US.

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