But while Amazon and Google have stressed the daily practicalities of the artificial intelligence assistants that run Echo and Home, Apple framed HomePod more as a music-listening platform, with practicalities like reminders and calendar almost an after thought.
Apple is really pushing the music angle with claims like HomePod will "reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes".
HomePod, Apple's new smart speaker, is clearly targeted at Amazon's wildly successful Echo. The HomePod is a rich, room-filling speaker that accepts voice commands and connects wirelessly to stored music libraries and the Apple Music service. The speaker is equipped with a "high-excursion" woofer for deep bass and an array of seven tweeters that consistently focuses the sound 360 degrees around the speaker to appropriately fill the room. The long and short of it then is that Apple HomePod is just that-it is a smart speaker with an assistant. Being able to pair them with Apple's HomePod, rather than skipping on one for the other, would certainly appeal to many of us.
The introduction of HomePod wasn't much of a surprise, but its price tag gives a bit of sticker shock in comparison to both Amazon Echo and Google Home, which cost $179.99 and $129.99, respectively. If Apple manages to beat the latter two in terms of sound quality and match Amazon and Google in terms of voice integration, the price could be justified for Apple device users.
But investors hoping HomePod will put a dent in Amazon's Alexa dominance will probably want to pump the brakes a little.
Apple also spent most of WWDC keynote talking about new Macs and iPads which are incredibly important to the company's bottom line.
Amazon's existing speakers have also already been popular with consumers since the Echo launched in the United Kingdom in 2016. However, it is not without competition, there is also Amazon Echo and Google Home which we have written about here.
While some expect the HomePod to sell out on its release over Christmas, it failed to inspire much in investors at the conference with shares falling 1% yesterday after an analyst downgrade from Pacific Crest. The speaker is powered by an Apple A8 ARM chip, the same one that was used in iPhones a few generations ago.
As we expected, Siri is embedded in the HomePod, so users can get updates on news, send messages etc. Users can tell HomePod that they liked a song or to play more songs like the one they're listening to. Other services like Pandora and Spotify can be played through Apple's AirPlay system, however this still a detriment compared to the direct streaming from virtually every music service offered by the HomePod's competitors.