Exceptional sound quality: The HomePod will come with "spatial awareness".

In fact, we couldn't even touch the pristine white table it sat on, and trying to activate it with "Hey, Siri" didn't work either. According to Cook, the HomePod is a "breakthrough home speaker that will reinvent home audio", with the focus firmly on giving both the Amazon Echo and Google Home a run for their money.

If these rumours are correct, it would give Apple the opportunity to launch a smart speaker like Amazon Echo or Google Home that would bring together the Siri smart assistant features in a standalone device.

The next chapter in the battle for dominance of the smart speaker market starts here. This is similarly small and unobtrusive and looks like what you'd get if somebody pulled off the top two inches of the Echo.

How much will it cost?

Apple's new iMacs are getting brighter displays and graphics capabilities, which Apple says makes the Mac a great platform for developing virtual-reality experiences. In that way, it's like a very big AirPod. This device has the same processor as the most modern iPhone, no display, and a much more powerful set of speakers than an iPhone.

We were able to extend our index finger and thumb and nearly span the entire speaker, which, according to the HomePod specs, is just under seven inches tall.

Amazon's Echo commands 70.6 percent of the USA market and Google Home has 23.8 percent, according to a recent eMarketer report.

But it's more than just a loud wireless speaker. Whereas the Echo and Home are pitched as entry points for a whole ecosystem of artificially intelligent, voice-powered services and devices, the HomePod is being pitched as a high-quality music player that happens to be integrated with Apple's Siri voice assistant. Apple said the same chip used in the iPhone will power the speaker. The A8 means the HomePod will be able to better predict when it hears its name and be able to perform real-time acoustic modeling that will shape the sound to fit the room it's in. It will also be possible to exchange data between gym equipment and the watch.

Phil Schiller, Apple's SVP of worldwide marketing, said on stage that the product has been in the works for "years".

The "HomePod" speaker unveiled Monday is similar to devices from rivals, some of which have been on the market for years.

While there's a chance Apple could reveal more colors for the HomePod between now and December, nothing was said to imply that.

Apple wanted its speaker's audio performance to be top-of-the-line.

In its current incarnation, Apple's HomeKit system is software only. This is what is rumoured to be underpinning Apple's smart assistant product. We'll have to wait until December like everywhere else, but it's reassuring to know at least that we won't be left waiting without any release date whatsoever as we have with the Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Today we're having a closer look at Apple official.