Thanks to smart acquisitions and a continued focus on the field, the company's voice input accuracy has improved 20 per cent over the past four years to 95 per cent. Google is approaching perfection while Siri is still working out the basics.
While many have been quick to bash the device for its uninspired design and lack of innovation, others suggest Apple is playing a different game here by offering the best of both worlds: ease of use and superb sound quality for music. HomePod features a large, Apple-designed woofer for bass, a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters that provide high frequency acoustics with directional control and technologies built right in to preserve the original recordings. Shipments of intelligent home speakers surged almost 600 per cent year-over-year to 4.2 million units in the fourth quarter, with Amazon taking about 88 per cent share and Google 10 percent, according to consultant Strategy Analytics.
"Apple's base should like it, because they are committed to the ecosystem", Enderle said of HomePod. If not, grabbing an Echo Dot and a Bose may be a more flexible and affordable solution.
The tech giant confirmed the device would go on sale in December in the US, UK and Australia.
The "HomePod" speaker unveiled Monday is similar to devices from rivals, some of which have been on the market for years.
HomePod will support HomeKit, Apple's smart home platform, but HomeKit has been pretty underwhelming, even three years after introducing the application programming interface (API).
Schiller said the HomePod will be deeply integrated with the Apple Music streaming music service.
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The company is expected to unveil a voice-activated, internet-connected speaker that would create a new digital pipeline into people's homes.
Apple is playing catch-up.
Yet how well Apple differentiates its new product with others already widely available is questionable. Amazon and Google are betting that most customers won't care.
But sound quality may be besides the point when it comes to smart speakers - the artificial intelligence software within them is the real selling point.
Regular iPad users will also love the new multi-tasking features, which include a new iPad app dock, new app switcher (swipe up) and drag-and-drop functions - manage images, text, links and more, like never before.
The arrival of a Prime Video app on the Apple TV would cap off nearly two years of feuding between the companies.
If developer mindshare turns out to be as important for voice assistants as it was for smartphones and PCs, then this could be a serious disadvantage.
Using the wake command "Hey Siri", the much-rumoured device can play music as well as answer queries and control other smart home appliances. The HomePod might never get enough traction for developers to take it seriously, relegating it to also-ran status like the Windows Phone in the smartphone race. Siri is never going to be as ubiquitous as Alexa, but Apple believes it can be a highly profitable business anyway.