Apple Announces Smart Speaker, Device Upgrades, and iOS 11

It has advanced echo cancellation that allows Siri to understand if people are standing near the device or across the room. Although Apple Watch has emerged as the leader among smartwatches, it hasn't become a smash hit like the iPhone.

The "HomePod" speaker unveiled at Apple's annual developers conference is similar to rival devices that have been released during the past two years.

HomePod is created to work with an Apple Music subscription for access to over 40 million songs and deep knowledge of personal music preferences.

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.

"There is so much momentum building around these speakers that it would be hard for Apple not to come out with one", said industry analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy.

One announcement generating a lot of buzz is Apple's new HomePod. When away from home, HomePod users can access the device and home automations through the Home app on iPhone or iPad. The company "can't afford to yield valuable real-estate in the heart of people's homes to Amazon, Google and others", said Geoff Blaber, research analyst at CCS Insight.

More news: Taylor Swift's Music Returns To Spotify And Other Streaming Services

HomePod users may initially be constrained by Siri's lack of capabilities as compared to Alexa, which also boasts the ability to order millions of Amazon products as well as food from restaurants like Domino's. Apple said that makes the Mac a great platform for developing virtual-reality "experiences", although the company didn't announce any consumer VR products. The new iPad starts at $649 and will start shipping next week.

Apple had plenty of other announcements. The new iPads also come with a redesigned Retina display featuring ProMotion, a new technology that delivers 120Hz refresh rates for smoother scrolling and motion, including with the Apple Pencil.

Jackson wasn't in San Jose (he's now producing WingNut's latest feature film, Mortal Engines in Wellington) but he said, in a statement, that the new technology had endless creative potential. It will not actually block ads, though.

The event will also see the tech firm discuss the next versions of software that power the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. It's part of Apple's effort to entice professionals with tablets that can handle many tasks previously reserved for laptops. Google, meanwhile, previewed new speaker features such as hands-free phone calling during its software conference last month. There's also no word yet on support for third-party services, or ways for developers to adapt their services for HomePod.

The new iOS software is available now for developers and also comes with voice enhancements and new features for Siri such as translation from English to a number of common languages.

Ortutay reported from NY.

Related Articles

  • US forces join Philippine troops to end city siege

    US forces join Philippine troops to end city siege

    Some 13 marines have been killed in fighting with Muslim militants who have laid siege to a city in the Philippines . The government earlier said the unrest had left 20 civilians, 134 militants and 39 government troops dead.
    Wonder Woman: War to End All War

    Wonder Woman: War to End All War

    Last week, The Hollywood Reporter wrote that both Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot were signed on for a Wonder Woman sequel . She later returned for the fifth movie, Fast Five, that also brought The Rock in the action.
    Powerball jackpot grows to 8th-highest in history

    Powerball jackpot grows to 8th-highest in history

    The odds of winning $ 1 million - awarded for having all five numbers, without the Powerball - are 1 in 11,688,054. The player in North Carolina also played the Power Play option which increased their winnings to $2 million.
  • What, exactly, was John McCain asking James Comey?

    What, exactly, was John McCain asking James Comey?

    The senior senator from Arizona questioned Comey at the end of the session and it made little sense. Comey stop investigating anyone, including suggesting that Mr.
    Rajasthan Board RBSE Class 10 Result 2017 to be Declared Today

    Rajasthan Board RBSE Class 10 Result 2017 to be Declared Today

    The pass percentage for 2017 was 78.96 percent, while the boys scored 79.01 percent and the girls scored 78.89 percent. Most of the schools are affiliated to UP and the Class 12 examinations are conducted by the Board every year.
    Verizon plans to cut 2000 jobs at Yahoo, AOL

    Verizon plans to cut 2000 jobs at Yahoo, AOL

    The job losses account for around 15% of Yahoo and AOL's workforce, and will reportedly be applied across the globe. Oath is expected to be Verizon's new company overseeing Yahoo and AOL, including more than 20 brands.
  • Inside Donald Trump Jr.'s Comey hearing tweetstorm

    However, Comey also testified Thursday - while under oath - that the memo in question did not contain any classified information. Trump's tweet said: "Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication. and WOW, Comey is a leaker".

    Trump tells Qatar to stop funding terrorism

    Arab countries have put 12 organizations and 59 people they say are associated with energy rich Qatar on a terror sanctions list. Included on the list were Doha-based Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Qatari-funded charities.
  • Officer: Castile had hand on gun when shot

    Moments after approaching the vehicle , Yanez fired seven shots, striking Castile five times. "I was scared to death". He said the inconsistencies in his statements to the BCA were due to him "trying to fumble my way through stress".
    Oscar Winner to Star in TNT Drama

    Oscar Winner to Star in TNT Drama

    Hamilton star Daveed Diggs will also star as a passenger in the back of the train who becomes involved in a class struggle. According to Deadline , Connelly will be teaming up with " Hamilton " star Daveed Diggs for the project.
    RNC Chief: Gianforte 'Right to Apologize' for Alleged Assault

    RNC Chief: Gianforte 'Right to Apologize' for Alleged Assault

    The state's Democratic governor, Steve Bullock , described the incident as "a wake-up call to all Montanans and Americans". Republican Greg Gianforte defeated Democrat Rob Quist on Thursday night in a race for Montana's lone seat in the U.S.