Apple's HomePod speaker pumps up the volume on tech rivals

However, in the case of the speaker, Apple has taken a different direction to Google and Amazon and concentrated on delivering a device that is focused on simply being a speaker to play music rather than be a conduit for access to a smart assistant in the case of Google's home speaker or for access to shopping on Amazon's network in the case of the Echo.

"Apple being very clever by launching its Siri speaker as a music speaker that's smart, because Siri isn't great", said Tom Warren from the technology news site The Verge.

Yet Apple wants to directly compete against the likes of Amazon's Echo and the Google Home, and has built its smart assistant Siri into the speaker.

Also, according to Philip Schiller, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Marketing, Apple, the new speaker powered by Siri can rock nearly any room with distortion free music, while also, it can be a helpful assistant around your home.

The HomePod is priced at $349 and will be available in US, UK and Australia in December.

"It put Apple TV at a big disadvantage", said Alan Wolk, lead analyst for TV industry publication TV EV.

Analysts are yet to be convinced that HomePod will rock the smart speaker market the way iPhones came to rule the smartphone world and iPods dominated MP3 players.

The device will be a hub for Apple's HomeKit home automation system, letting users control devices such as lights, door locks and window blinds. The device, called HomePod, will go toe-to-toe with existing competitors such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

The iPod may have restarted Apple's path all those years ago, but now that we all have phones, the "pod" has changed. For instance, Apple initially resisted enlarging the size of iPhone's screen despite strong sales for larger-display phones made by Samsung and other rivals.

Of course, premium pricing is Apple's typical strategy, and the company attempts to justify this premium by saying that the combined cost of a Wi-Fi speaker and a smart speaker can easily run $400 to $700.

Apple also announced the next version of its mobile operating system - iOS 11 - which will include a new setting for people who use their iPhone in the auto.

Cook also used the Apple keynote to show off new iPad and Mac computer models, as well as provide glimpses at coming versions of the software powering the technology titan's devices.

"Apple's base should like it, because they are committed to the ecosystem", Enderle said of HomePod.

Apple played up the rich speaker quality of HomePod, and synched it with the company's music service that boasts 27 million subscribers.

Apple said it had updated the processors in its iMac and MacBook Pro lineup to Intel's most recent "Kaby Lake" processors.

Siri, meanwhile, is getting a new voice.

Our homes might already be filled with the chatter of Amazon Echos and Google Homes, but guess who's just knocked on the door?

Taking direct aim at services like PayPal, Apple debuted peer-to-peer payments for Apple Pay in which users will be able to send money through the Messages app on iPhones.

Apple was keen to trumpet updates to its macOS High Sierra including improvements to its storage and graphics updates, but it is the Intelligent Tracking Prevention enhancement to its Safari web browser that will most concern media professionals.

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