Apple HomePod at $349: Can Superior Audio Trump Competitors' AI Capabilities?

HomePod, Apple Music and Siri deliver the best music experience in the home that streams ad-free directly to HomePod.

In the case of both HomePod and ARKit, Apple is banking on fans of the brand potentially abandoning rival products in favor of whatever its in-house developers and independent developers create for the space.

Finally, Amazon Prime Video will be available on Apple TV later this year. These giants are battling over still-emerging fields that are expected to turn into technological gold mines, much the way personal computers and smartphones became moneymaking machines in previous decades.

The HomePod is Apple's smart speaker - the answer to Google Home and Amazon's Echo line.

HomePod is deemed a more expensive competitor of Echo, which was released two years ago.

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WWDC is Apple's annual pitch to software engineers to continue building programs for the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch.

The speaker has the "power to rock the house", according to Schiller, who said the team worked to make HomePod an potent assistant for news, messages, weather, traffic, home controls and more. It will retail for $349 when it ships in the United States, UK and Australia in December. The speaker is similar to cheaper devices from Amazon and Google.

It's hard to tell what any of this means right now, and a full review of the final product is the only way to determine any real meaningful thoughts on HomePod-as-home-audio-device. Although the format is not exclusive to Apple, it's not yet clear how well the photos will work with non-Apple software and devices, which mostly use JPEG.

If you were hoping for news on a new iPhone sadly you'll have to wait until later this year for news on the follow up to the iPhone 7 but we think there's enough Apple tech to tide you over until then.

HomePod seems in many ways like an echo of existing products on the market, in everything from form to price.

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Still, the Apple Watch hasn't been a smash hit, fueling worries that the company's ability to transfix customers had waned after the 2011 death of co-founder Steve Jobs. However, the Cupertino, California-based company has yet to spring into the home speaker market - that is, until now. That's especially important because people are starting to access information, entertainment and search in a more "pervasive" way that's less dependent on smartphones, he said.

Compared to the audio quality of Apple's new HomePod, the Amazon Echo is a significant mismatch.

Apple had plenty of other announcements.

Apple's new iMacs are getting brighter displays and graphics capabilities, which Apple says makes the Mac a great platform for developing virtual-reality experiences.

What's interesting about Apple's approach here is that the company has positioned HomePod as a music device first and foremost, a big contrast to the approach of Google which touted its Home speaker as a day-to-day assistant for many aspects of your life. The newest version of their browser Safari will have 80 per cent faster JavaScript performance than Google's Chrome browser.

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The court ruled that President Richard Nixon's audio recordings of White House conversations should be turned over to prosecutors. Comey put himself in a box because, if he felt at the time the conversation rose to obstruction, he was obligated to report it.

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