“For months we’ve heard rumors of a Siri-powered rival to the Amazon Echo,” Megan Wollerton writes for CNET. “At Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday, it finally happened. Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, just debuted the HomePod on stage during the WWDC keynote address.”

“We’re excited Apple’s speaker is here, but it’s also been a long time coming,” Wollerton writes. “Apple announced its software platform, HomeKit, at WWDC 2014. A few months later, Amazon began selling the Echo — a $180 plug-in Wi-Fi voice-controlled speaker that answers to the wake word, ‘Alexa.'”

“HomeKit, by comparison, has lived exclusively in iOS devices for three years, without a companion piece of hardware to call home. That means anyone without an iPhone or iPad was automatically excluded from HomeKit,” Wollerton writes. “A standalone Siri speaker should make HomeKit much more accessible to Android customers, children and other family members who’d rather not use an iPhone to ask Siri a question.”

Wollerton writes, “The question now is whether Apple’s Siri speaker will be enough to compete with Amazon and Google at this late stage. ”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Don’t be ridiculous. It’s not “late stage.” It’s embryonic. Apple’s HomePod will quickly own the premium (read: wildly profitable) end of the nascent smart speaker market.

Apple reveals HomePod smart home music speaker – June 5, 2017