HomePod will take on lower priced Amazon Echo and Google Home, which have had momentum in the arena of voice-controlled speakers capable of controlling smart appliances, fetching content from the internet and more. "HomePod packs powerful speaker technology, Siri intelligence and wireless access to the entire Apple Music library into a handsome speaker that is less than 7 inches tall, can rock most any room with distortion free music and be a helpful assistant around your home". Apple is also bringing improvements to playing music and recording fitness activities.
Apple said Siri, which also competes with the Google Assistant helper, will now be able to create appointments on an iPhone after an appointment is booked on a Mac, for example, marking the first time that privacy-conscious Apple has let the assistant work across devices. The speaker will ship in December in the U.S., United Kingdom and Australia, and will be available in additional markets next year.
The conference is typically devoted to software updates and this year, Apple released a series of new features and updates for the iPhone, the iPad, Mac and the Apple Watch - including an augmented-reality kit for developers aimed at making the iPhone "the largest AR platform in the world".
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. It can play music from Apple Music, tell you the news, do unit conversions, send messages, schedule reminders, set timers, translate, check stocks, answer trivia questions, and tell you what the traffic is like.
Never count Apple and its many millions of fans out. Some of the products will be available immediately, others will come later this year. The Google Home does similar things but comes with the Google Assistant instead of Siri.
Aimed at high-end design professionals rather than the home market, the iMac Pro is to begin shipping in December with a starting price of $4,999.
More than 35 million people in the US are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than doubling from last year, according the research firm eMarketer.
Apple is late on VR. It's the first time in 15 years that Apple has held its conference in San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley.
But, unlike smartwatches in 2015, the smart speaker market isn't crying out for a company to swan in and make a model that lives up to the promise.
HomePod is a seven-inch-tall speaker that has Apple's digital assistant built in.
The lack of a breakthrough device has periodically raised concerns that Apple has become too dependent on the iPhone and supported the theory that the company lost its knack for innovation when its co-founder Steve Jobs died of cancer in 2011.
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