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Apple Announces HomePod Speaker to Rival Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home

Three years after Amazon launched the Echo and six months after Google launched its $109 Home, Apple today unveiled a Siri-powered smart speaker called the HomePod, the speaker is a gateway to other Apple products, and a showcase for Apple’s voice AI assistant, Siri. By 24/7 Staff

Apple’s answer to the Amazon Echo lineup and Google Home has advanced to the manufacturing stage, according to Bloomberg.

At its annual World Wide Developers Conference today, Apple unveiled a Siri-powered smart speaker, the HomePod.

CEO Tim Cook announced the device as the day’s “one last thing.”

“We think we can do a lot,” Cook said, “to make the experience [of listening to music in your home] much better.”

Apple's supply chain is builidng a speaker that is 7 inches tall, covered in “acoustic” mesh, with a 4-inch woofer, along the bottom: 6 microphones and a beam-forming tweeter. It runs $349, which is far more expensive than competing products.

Like Amazon’s $179 Echo, Apple’s HomePod is not just for music. It can tell you the weather, read you news and sports scores, and perform many other tasks, all beginning with the command, “Hey Siri.”

Apple HomePod: Smart Speaker with Hi-Fi Ambitions?
U.S. retail prices of selected voice-enabled and multiroom wireless speakers

Amazon Echo is powered by Alexa, while Google Home is powered by Google Assistant. (Last month, Microsoft announced the Invoke, a smart speaker powered by its Cortana voice assistant, set to go on sale in the fall.) Of course, you could also count the Sonos, the Beats Pill, and the Jawbone Jambox as home speakers that will have to compete with Apple HomePod now.

According to Bloomberg Technology, the market for internet-connected speakers and other smart home technology may be big enough to help Apple diversify.

Shipments of intelligent home speakers surged nearly 600 percent year-over-year to 4.2 million units in the fourth quarter, with Amazon taking about 88 percent share and Google 10 percent, according to consultant Strategy Analytics.

Spending on smart home related hardware, services and installation fees will reach $155 billion by 2022, up from almost $90 billion this year, with devices accounting for about half of that, the consulting firm also estimates.

WWDC 2017: Here’s Everything Apple Announced

Related: Is Apple’s Supply Chain Really the No. 1? A Case Study

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