Rumors have been swirling for weeks about Apple’s supposed Amazon Echo competitor. On Monday, Apple finally put the rumors to rest by unveiling their squat little Echo killer dubbed the Home Pod.

 

Amazon’s Echo has dominated the smart speaker scene since 2014 so we have to wonder if Apple’s entry into the market is too little, too late. The Home Pod, like the Echo, is designed to provide news, weather updates, play music, and control connected gadgets in your house.

Apple Home Pod Black

Apple is wisely positioning the Home Pod as a “music first” speaker. The mesh wrapped speaker will be available in two colors at launch, black and white. To pump-out tunes, it has seven tweeters on its bottom with a 4-inch high-excursion woofer on top and six microphones. If you say “Hey Siri” a multi-colored wave form on the crown of the speaker lets you know Siri’s listening.

 

Controlling the whole shebang is an A8 processor that does automatic echo cancellation and EQ. Not unlike calibration systems found in many AV receivers, the Home Pod is able to optimize its sound quality based on the size and shape of your room.

 

On the privacy side of things, the Pod doesn’t transmitt anything to Apple until you utter the words “Hey Siri”. Even then, your interactions with the Pod are sent with an encrypted anonymous Siri ID.

 

When the Home Pod launches this December it’s expected to carry a price tag of $349. Apple will need to prove that the Pod is worth that premium price tag since Google’s Home only retails for $129. However, knowing Apple’s penchant for designing amazing hardware, it may very well be worth every penny.

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