Of all the announcements at Apple’s just-concluded WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference), the only truly new product is HomePod, which is a smart speaker similar to Google Home.
Like Google’s version, HomePod makes use of Apple’s voice assistant Siri to listen to your commands and play the music you request. A seven beam-forming tweeter array and Apple-designed woofer create a full sound that can easily cover an entire room.
At its heart is an Apple A8 chipset, which was first introduced on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Combined with the highly aware microphones, the HomePod makes Apple Music access — as well as all the possible Siri commands on iPhones — a cinch.
There’s just one problem: The HomePod costs $349. That’s more than double the price of Google Home, which has just as many features, if not more. It’ll also take a while before it begins shipping; the US, UK, and Australia are getting it first in December 2017. Available colors are white and gray.