Can Apple's Siri Outsmart Amazon's Alexa?

And, as you'd expect from a modern Apple product, Siri is baked into the device, turning the HomePod into a hub for information and a control device for IoT and home automation devices. Inside is an array of seven beam-forming tweeter speakers and a larger subwoofer.

The speaker is powered by Apple's A8 processor, powerful enough to control a device like the HomePod.

As Schiller introduced the device, he acknowledged that there are several other smart home speakers available on the market. For instance you can voice-activate it with a simple "Hey Siri" using six microphones laid to pick up sound in all directions. In fact, it can automatically detect the dimensions of the room it is placed in and can adjust the sound output accordingly.

Apple's HomePod will come in grey, white and black.

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In lieu of those skills, Apple is banking on HomePod's superior audio quality to stand out from the competition.

Apple has announced HomePod, its new wireless speaker and home assistant product which aims to rival Google Home and Amazon's Echo device.

At the on-going WWDC 2017 event, Apple has made one of the most anticipated announcements - the home speaker powered by Siri. HomePod might also have some unique appeal to folks who've invested in Apple's burgeoning HomeKit smart home ecosystem.

By comparison, the HomePod costs $120 more than Amazon's (AMZN) latest touchscreen-sporting Echo Show, $220 more than Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google Home and $300 more than the no-frills Echo Dot. It can play music from Apple Music, tell you the news, do unit conversions, send messages, schedule reminders, set timers, translate, check stocks, answer trivia questions, and tell you what the traffic is like.

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The Echo, released in 2015, and Google Home, released previous year, have helped plant the seeds for a promising market.

HomePod will initially be available from December in the UK, US and Australia.

A USA Today poll published today found that 80 percent of consumers are familiar with Siri, compared to 67 percent for Alexa and 55 percent for Google Assistant. It even comes with Apple's communications encryption technology, which is frankly reassuring.

Apple said Siri, which also competes with the Google Assistant helper, will 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.

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