Apple unveils new features, tools

Apple unveils new features, tools

The cylindrical speaker will be around 7 inches tall and features specifications including a seven-tweeter array for directional audio and a 4-inch upward facing woofer for low-end definition.

Powering the HomePod is an Apple A8 processor, the same used in the iPhone. HomePod features "real-time acoustic modeling", which allows it to tweak music to suit its environment.

Apple says that the HomePod will launch in December (available in grey and white), although we expect South Africa to probably follow in the new year. That's fair, given that you can use Siri to control certain smart home gadgets, tell you random info, and control your music. Siri can serve as a musicologist for music lovers as it can quick provide answers to questions like "Who is singing this song?" and "Who is playing the drums in this song?" Apple has been rumoured to be introducing a smart, standalone Siri speaker, similar in functionality to products such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

HomePod will be available for $349 (US) in white and space gray starting in December initially in Australia, the United Kingdom and the US.* HomePod is compatible with iPhone 5s and later, running iOS 11.

Combining all of these scorching hot takes into one cohesive opinion is tough, but we're going to go with: Apple's HomePod is a roll of toilet paper wrapped in thread, that costs way too much, but sounds totally awesome. "HomePod packs powerful speaker technology, Siri intelligence and wireless access to the entire Apple Music library into a lovely speaker that is less than 7 inches tall, can rock most any room with distortion free music and be a helpful assistant around your home".

HomePod like all the other Apple devices send information to Apple's server in encrypted form and with your unique Siri identifier that makes your personal information secure. It will then be available in other countries starting in 2018.

HomePod can be paired up with your iPhone 5s or later running the new iOS 11 and the connectivity works just like the AirPods, all you have to do is bring your iPhone in the range and your iPhone will be connected with your HomePod. BBC's Dave Lee writes in his review, "Off-camera demonstration of Apple's new HomePad speaker confirmed what the company promised on stage: it sounds terrific". It also needs to be fun to use, Apple said.

Siri now has better translation features, improved speech, as well as the ability to learn from user behaviour. This makes it not only a competitor to the Echo and Home, but also to home audio systems like those offered by Sonos and Bose. Maybe. Amazon's still a petulant child about things though: search for Apple TV or Chromecast in Amazon and it'll show you Fire TV Sticks and Roku devices.

Apple Watch has emerged as the market leader for smartwatches - but it has competition after including basic fitness trackers in the count. These devices will only keep the most recent messages in local storage. That's a new focus for Apple as it competes with Google and Amazon.

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