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Apple unveils smart speaker with focus on music as it battles Google, Amazon

It looks like a home assistant and it acts like a home assistant, but Apple Inc. says it has created a smart speaker with a focus on music.

The company unveiled a speaker called “HomePod” on Monday at its annual developers conference. The device, which will retail at $349, can be voice-activated to play songs from Apple Music, and has a home assistant, Siri, built in, so that it can be used to send messages, check the weather or work with other smart home devices to control the lights or shades.

However, Apple AAPL, +0.51% stopped short of calling it a home assistant and thus a direct competitor to companies like Google Inc.

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