Apple Launches HomePod-A Smart Speaker for Homes

Elizabeth Williams
June 6, 2017

The arrival of a Prime Video app on the Apple TV would cap off nearly two years of feuding between the companies. The Homepod was just one of many things unveiled Monday. The browser supposedly now has 80 per cent faster JavaScript performance, according to Apple, meaning that even the clunkiest websites will load faster.

Apple nodded to several up-and-coming technology trends, unveiling new device features touching on virtual reality, online privacy and a form of artificial intelligence called machine learning. It will be like the Finder app in macOS and all local as well as cloud storage files will be available within one app. Cloud storage services include iCloud, Dropbox and Box. The update also includes refinements to Photos, Safari and Mail. If that doesn't work, other tweaks such as improved facial recognition and photo tagging will make it easier for people to quickly search through their photos rather than having to scroll through dozens at a time. If the speculation pans out, the speaker would be Apple's first new product since its smartwatch in 2015. It also has a $US5000 ($6679) base price to match (Australian pricing has not yet been confirmed). Bearing a striking resemblance to Google's Tango platform, I placed a lamp, vase and various other objects on a surface, and then was able to move the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro's camera around and look at it from different angles.

Some other changes announced include a refined camera app, more detailed maps in Apple Maps, a "do not disturb" mode for vehicle usage, AirPlay 2's release, and a new dev tool called MusicKit API for Apple Music. These desktops use AMD Radeon Pro Vega graphics, and also have four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports to connect professional peripherals. In essence, this means that the computer is powerful enough to handle multiple 4K displays or up to 44 million pixels at any given moment if you have the screens to support it.

The most powerful Mac, the iMac Pro. Ahhh, sweet, sweet overkill.

The iOS 11 beta and its features are tempting but many of you are better off keeping your iPhone or iPad on an official version of iOS. All of these Macs are getting bumped up to the latest seventh-generation (Kaby Lake) Intel Core chips. Apple's augmented reality is tipped to become "the largest augmented reality platform in the world". The Apple TV app will presumably have the same limitations.

Control Center ditched the three-pane layout and is now a single panel so you can to get sliders and toggles right away, and it incorporates 3D Touch so you can access more specific, granule controls with a long press on the screen.

Apple's annual software update for its iPhone and iPad range is here.

Siri is getting some much needed love and attention from Apple engineers.

The new displays can also dynamically adjust their refresh rates depending on usage - saving battery life by dropping to only 24Hz for displaying still images, 48Hz for video content, etc. The assistant will be able to translate from English to select languages at the moment. It will make use of an iPhone or iPad's sensors and cameras to produce much more complex gaming experiences, complete with ambient lighting estimation, scale estimation, and plane estimation with basic boundaries.

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