Twitter's Apple HomePod verdict: 'It looks like a roll of toilet paper'

The Apple A8's prowess is coupled with Siri AI which transforms HomePod into a smart speaker system.

"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 HomePod measures in at 7in tall, and Apple has defended its bin-like design by talking up its "seamless 3D mesh fabric" as having acoustic properties. The next iOS may also have new features designed for artificial intelligence, the application of computers that learn and understand things like humans.

Second place is a very comfortable place for Apple, because it's focused on profit share rather than market share.

Many non-hardware companies have also announced plans to launch their own exclusive smart speakers targeting both local and worldwide markets this year, alongside smaller startups active in the business segment. Meanwhile, The Verge's Dieter Bohn writes, "It starts with the subwoofer, which delivers bass that doesn't quite hit you in the chest but does manage to put other smart speakers like the Echo or Google Home to shame". The research firm eMarketer says than 35 million people in the USA are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than double its estimate from last year. Outside companies' digital music services - presumably including Spotify and Pandora - don't appear to be accessible directly through the Apple speaker.

In a blog post Technalysis Research founder Bob O'Donnell depicted Apple's latest product news as an affirmation that the company has not fallen behind competitors and is working to take advantage of potentially exciting new technologies.

A new Siri interface on the Apple Watch will also blend users' calendar information with other useful details, like airline tickets they may have booked, the company said.

Among the offerings: The ability to pay friends with Apple Pay.

Until now, you've also needed an Apple TV to remotely control your HomeKit accessories from outside your house, but the HomePod will also handily let you do this without buying Apple's ageing set-top box. So far, the service has limited payments to purchases of products and services from companies and other organizations.

On the software front, RBC Capital analyst Amit Daryanani expects the iOS 11 - the next operating system for Apple's iPhones and iPads - to get an overhaul that will accommodate the anticipated removal of the home button from the 10th anniversary model of the iPhone due out later this year.

Platforms need developers, and we've seen over and over that the tech world is capable of supporting two-not three-platforms in most areas.

Safari, Apple's web browser, seeks to make users' online experience smoother and less annoying. It will not block the ads themselves, though. Musically, the Apple HomePod did blow both Sonos Play:3 and Amazon Echo out of the water, as Engadget's Chris Velazco points out.

Apple also introduced a new version of its business-oriented iPad Pro at an intermediate size with more storage, a better display and an improved camera.