Apple HomePod wireless music speaker

Sales of iPads are hardly what keeps Apple afloat, but they're still iterating and clearly have some plans up their sleeves about how you might use a new mid-sized iPad Pro.

Unlike those other smart speakers, Apple is positioning the HomePod primarily as a way to listen to and discover new songs and artists. If Apple hits a home run with its own offering, it could start taking away the throne from Amazon.

Apple launched a new size for its iPad - 10.5-inches.

"Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes", said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing.

The product was introduced on stage by Apple executive Phil Schiller, who said it works closely with the company's Music app and will ship in December in the US, United Kingdom and Australia. Google's Home speaker, featuring its plain-named Assistant, debuted a year ago.

The speaker connects to home wifi and will be controlled by the human voice. The research firm eMarketer says than 35 million people in the US are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than double its estimate from last year. Available in black and white colors, there are seven tweeters beneath it with a four-inch woofer. Considering both Amazon and Google smart speakers are available in the market for a lot longer, they offer greater functionality which ranges from ordering a pizza to calling a cab or even reading out recipes! The new Echo Show goes on sale on June 28 for $230. Microsoft is also teaming up with firms such as Harmon Kardon on speakers that run its Cortana assistant. Each one will have a strong focus on usability, a move in line with Apple's push towards creating a better user experience. Cook is aiming to double services revenue, which also includes products like iCloud and Apple Music, to around $50 billion by 2020.

Apple has a higher price point than its competitors.

I hate to bring the rain on Apple's parade but I'm surprised that people are ignoring the obvious fact that there's practically nothing special about Homepod - except that it was made by Apple of course. The company claims that it's a powerful device which can adapt to the surrounding where it's playing.

Amazon and Google's home speaker devices have been battling it out in recent months, but the $349 HomePod will be Apple's first entry into the market.

Apple could eventually open the HomePod up to outside developers, much as it did the iPhone and, eventually, Apple TV.

iOS 11 will be coupled with a fresh update to the company's smartwatch software.

Siri was also front-and-center of Apple's machine-learning, a type of artificial intelligence that helps software adapt to data and recognize patterns automatically. Be it on the Apple Watch faces, photos for face recognition and more.

HomePod uses the company's A8 chip, which Apple also uses for its mobile devices.