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Look out Alexa: Apple announces 'HomePod,' a smart home audio speaker

Tim Cook, CEO, speaks during Apple's annual world wide developer conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, U.S. June 5, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Apple is taking on Amazon Echo and Google Home: The company announced a new voice-controlled speaker during its WWDC developer conference in San Jose, Calif. Monday. Dubbed HomePod, the new speaker features voice control and spatial awareness to adapt the sound to different rooms.

HomePod will cost consumers $349. The speaker will ship in December in the U.S., UK and Australia, and will be available in additional markets next year.

HomePod uses the company's A8 chip, which Apple also uses for its mobile devices. The speaker will use an array of 6 microphones for voice control via Siri, and 7 tweeters for audio playback.

In many ways, HomePod will be able to do the same things as an Amazon Echo or Google Home, including playing back podcasts, setting reminders, checking sports scores, translation and controlling internet-connected devices.

Bloomberg reported last week hat the company had begun to manufacture the device.

This isn't Apple's first attempt to enter the home audio market. The company announced a standalone speaker dubbed the iPod HiFI in 2006, but discontinued the device soon after. Beats Electronics was also working on a Wifi-equipped speaker when it was acquired by Apple in 2014, but Apple decided to kill the project before it was publicly announced.

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