Apple is taking on Amazon’s Echo and Google Home with a voice-activated $349 speaker called the HomePod.
Unvieled at this week’s WWDC17 conference, the new device uses personal digital-assistant Siri and core Apple services like Apple Music.
However, unlike Amazon Echo and Google Home, Apple is positioning HomePod more as an alternative to connected music-systems from Sonos and Bose. At $349 it’s priced substantially higher than the $175 Echo and $129 Google Home.
Like devices by Amazon and Google, Apple’s HomePod speaker can respond to questions and control smart home gadgets such as lights.
Apple vice president Phil Schiller said the company’s Siri team had tuned the assistant into a “musicologist” that learns the tastes of listeners and gets songs from the internet cloud.
The speaker has the “power to rock the house,” according to Schiller, and the aim is to make HomePod a potent assistant for news, messages, weather, traffic, home controls and more.
At the WWDC17 event, Apple also unveiled the new iPad 10.5, iMac Pro and the new operating sytem iOS 11 with the new Control Center along with an updated App Store.
View highlights drom the event here: