New smart speaker expected as Apple kicks off conference

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It's called the HomePod (yes, I know).

"It's so cool, we really believe it is going to take your home music experience to the next level", said Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Apple has introduced new hardware which includes a Siri powered speaker, and gave a glimpse of the upcoming iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch features as the company's WWDC event was kick started.

The Siri-enabled speaker links up with the Apple Home app, allowing users to control their connected smart home devices by voice, without touching their iPhone or iPad. It may not be first but Apple always does it better. It's a smart market strategy.

The clincher is in the device's nervous center: an A8 chip capable of intelligently detecting the device's location in the room and tweaking the audio quality accordingly to fit the acoustics. There are three Echo models available: the Echo ($179) which has a pretty decent speaker itself, the Echo Dot ($49) which can connect to external speakers, and the Tap ($129) which has an internal battery.

The HomePod can scan the space around it to optimize audio accordingly. You can use the HomePod for a variety of commands, including requests like: "Who's singing?", "Play hardcore punk", and "When was this recorded?"

You can also ask other Siri queries, such as news headlines, the weather, sports scores and more.

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New smart speaker expected as Apple kicks off conference

Following in Google's footsteps, Siri will also be able to translate and speak phrases from six languages, with more coming later, Apple said.

Schiller advertised the company's "breakthrough home speaker" as distortion-free and spatially aware. It will cost $349.

Standing at just under 7 inches tall, the HomePod comes in the standard Apple white or black colourways. It starts shipping in the USA, the United Kingdom and Australia. More countries will be added later on.

And that's about it for now.

The Cupertino, California-based company said Siri, which also competes with Alphabet Inc's Google Assistant, will now work across devices.

Bloomberg reported last week that the company had begun to manufacture the device. So it has to prove that it can make a good speaker before calling it the best speaker ever.

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