After months of rumours, Apple used today's Worldwide Developer Conference keynote to announce its first smart speaker, the Siri powered HomePod.
Apple CEO Tim Cook described HomePad as the company's attempt to "reinvent home music" with a speaker that not only sounds good, but has smarts to back it up.
In addition to high quality internals, Apple says the HomePod is spatially aware and can customise how music sounds to its surroundings; for example, pushing music toward the centre of a room. Multiple HomePods can be paired to further emphasise this effect.
Siri is the brain behind the HomePod, and has a bunch of new music focused skills. These include the ability to understand commands like "play something mellow" or "play something new", and answer song specific questions "like who's playing drums on this track" or "when was this recorded?". Apple says the HomePod's six directional microphones mean Siri can still understand you, even when you're blasting loud tunes.
On top of music related knowledge, Siri on the HomePod has access to a lot of the functionality you'd get on your iPhone, positioning the speaker as a competitor to Amazon's Echo family and the Google Home (which is launching in Australia later this year). You'll be able to talk to your HomePod to play podcast, get news, weather, traffic and sports updates, set reminders and timers, and control HomeKit enabled smartphone appliances.
HomePod will go on sale in December, with Australia set to be one of the initial launch markets. It will retail for USD$349 in a choice of space grey or white. Australian pricing will be confirmed later this year.