Apple Launches HomePod Speaker to Bring Siri Into the Living Room

Apple is finally taking Alexa, which is available on a wide variety of hardware, seriously.

On Monday Apple introduced the HomePod speaker to compete with Amazon.com Inc's Alexa assistant and Echo devices for users who prefer voice-operated systems for shopping, planning and other tasks.

Apple Launches HomePod Speaker to Bring Siri Into the Living Room Apple

The hardware debut, a rarity at the annual developer's conference that traditionally features software and only minor hardware updates, came as analysts and investors watch for signs of the world's largest publicly traded company's next blockbuster product a decade after the introduction of the iPhone.

Apple's voice-controlled Siri assistant will be integrated into the $349 speaker, and will make music recommendations that pair with the company's Apple Music service, send text messages, check news and sports scores and control home gadgets like lightbulbs and thermostats.

Apple will begin shipping the HomePod to the United States, UK, and Australia in December.

The Cupertino, California-based company said Siri, which also competes with Alphabet Inc's Google Assistant, will also now be able to create appointments on an iPhone after an appointment is booked on a Mac, for example, marking the first time that privacy-conscious Apple has let the assistant work across devices.

The company rolled out new tools for developers to create augmented reality applications for iPhones and iPads. To show the tools off, Apple invited Wingnut AR, the company formed by "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson, on stage.

Taking direct aim at services like those provided by PayPal Holdings Inc , Apple also debuted peer-to-peer payments for Apple Pay in which users will be able to send money through the Messages app on iPhones. That money can immediately be used in retail stores that take Apple Pay or can be moved to a bank account.

Apple also unveiled a key content deal when Chief Executive Tim Cook said that Amazon Prime Video, long absent from the Apple TV product, would come to Apple devices such as the TV, iPhones and iPad later this year.

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Bill Rigby)

6 Comments on Apple Launches HomePod Speaker to Bring Siri Into the Living Room

  1. You know how MS has basically given up on their phone OS because they were the third entrant into a market which was heavily dominated by better products?

    Apple should learn from history because while imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, it’s also a recipe for losing lots of money; especially when that imitation is priced 2x higher than the competition.

    Steve Jobs would be embarrassed over what has become of this company under Cook.

    • The thing about Apple is that they need to find their next successful product after the iphone. Since they have the money to spare, why not release a smart speaker?

      • They already have. They’ve released the iPad and the Watch. Every product they’ve released has been successful — you just can’t judge those successes against the success of the iPhone, which is extraordinary.

        I’m vaguely interested in the HomePod, though moreso than in an Echo or Google Home. I have a couple of Sonos speakers, which sound terrific, so if the audio quality is better than that, awesome. I bought an Echo dot when it was deeply discounted in the run-up to Christmas — and have yet to even open it, much less plug it in. That may change if I start getting more “smart” gadgetry in my home, like lights or thermostats, but I’m still a little wary about the always-listening element.

    • wrong. apple has a more stable ecosystem of syncing products than anything MS or any android product has made yet. apple is going to do what it did for cell phone with iphone. with this its going to show how integrated tech successfully works. google, amazon, MS, all have some products they do well. but not all cross-spectrum integration. apple’s not imitating.. it’s advancing.
      people will always pay “2x” the price (which its not) to have a stable product. if it wasn’t stable then why is it the #1 tech company in the world with $50,000,000 more revenue than its nearest competitor? #hmmm

    • Apple has 100s of billions in cash, so they can afford to take chances with new hardware. Even though the HomePod is priced double compared to Echo, it will still sell man units. They were late entrants into the tablet and smartwatch markets and they dominate those categories.

      Steve Jobs would be proud of his company under Cook.

  2. I know Apple likes to ‘stand out’ and all, but could they ‘not’ have offered something that at first glace looks like a roll of TP?

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