The Echo, released in 2015, and Google Home, released past year, were the first entrants in a promising market.
"Apple is smart to frame the HomePod as a music-centric and audio-centric device rather than just another smart speaker or another home for Siri", said Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson.
Amazon introduced the Echo speaker, featuring its Alexa assistant, in 2015. Ask Siri to play a song and it will use the Apple Music app. The HomePod is created to work along with Apple Music, so it essentially requires one to have a subscription to music streaming service, which will give access to over 40 million songs. Apple said the same chip used in the iPhone will power the speaker.
The 7-inch high speaker will be available in white and black and will ship starting in December initially in Australia, the United Kingdom and the US.
Apple also showed off new features for its iOS mobile software and lots of other fun stuff.
Also, in important news for the upcoming macOS release, High Sierra, there will be an update to Safari that helps block site trackers and autoplaying videos - something that seems to be an epidemic on media sites right now and it drives me, personally, insane.
There's also an update to WatchOS with a new Siri interface and a new Music app for the Apple Watch, and laptops are getting updates, with a new faster 21.5-inch MacBook Air with 4K high resolution that will start at around $1,300, and a new 13-inch MacBook Pro that starts at $1,300.
Lynch relishes opportunity to play for hometown Raiders
Lynch spent his brief press conference, which the Raiders posted to its Twitter account , addressing his love for his hometown. He has already become popular with his new teammates because of his fierce loyalty and willingness to joke around.
The speaker, while expected by some industry watchers, marked Apple's first new product announcement since the Apple Watch in September 2014.
Apple doesn't have to necessarily be ahead of the curve - its most successful products have come from polishing and repackaging good ideas. Apple typically makes major updates to its Mac software every other year.
The money can be stored on a virtual card and used with Apple Pay, which Apple expects will be accepted in 50 percent of US retailers by the end of the year.
Still, the Apple Watch hasn't been a smash hit, fueling worries that the company's ability to transfix customers had waned after the 2011 death of co-founder Steve Jobs.
The speaker is part of Apple's smart home drive, which began with Apple HomeKit. With a seven-tweeter array and a four-inch subwoofer, the HomePod should deliver substantially better sound than Amazon or Google's equivalents.
"Though Apple appears to be playing catch up with Amazon and Google, the primary casualty here may be Sonos". But on a screenless speaker like HomePod, if Siri sucks, the whole gadget does too.