Apple unveils HomePod, competition for Amazon Echo

Elizabeth Williams
June 7, 2017

Meanwhile, at a San Jose venue in Northern California, Apple's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tim Cook opened the Worldwide Developers Conference, or WWDC, with announcement that Prime Video, a video streaming service that is operated by Amazon.com, will be integrated into Apple TV, a digital media player and microconsole.

Apple has confirmed it will release a smart speaker called HomePod, so you can chat to Siri all the time and not just on your phone.

Apple HomePod is the smart speaker that wants to be at the center of your home audio experience, and that's great news for iPhone and iPad users.

A HomePod speaker that plays music and lets you talk to Siri.

The big question is whether or not people are going to be willing to spend this much for the HomePod, and what kind of support Apple will offer for third party apps, like Spotify. The HomePod will take Siri from iPhones into more homes and turn it into more of a hub for Apple's other products and services. Users will also be available to control smart home products such as connected lighting by speaking to Siri through the HomePod. It'll also be able to control other smart home devices and be a musicologist, as Phil Schiller, Apple's VP for worldwide marketing, puts it.

But this WWDC also saw the launch of several new hardware. Although Apple Watch has emerged as the leader in its technological niche, it hasn't become a smash hit like the iPhone or the iPad - at least until tablet sales started declining. HomePod can actually improve music quality and playback because of its spatial awareness. Apple claims that the new iMac Pro is packed with enough hardware to make it the most powerful Mac computer to date. The conference ends on June 9.

The company introduced iOS 11, the next version of the software that powers the iPhone and iPad.

Siri has a bunch of new features including translation from English to other languages like Mandarin and Spanish, by simply saying it in English.

Amazon's Echo smart speaker was the tech success story of 2016.

High Sierra features an updated file management system that speeds up directory cloning with native encryption. So Siri handles the same chores that Alexa and Google Assistant are in charge of for their respective smart speakers.

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. You can use TouchID fingerprint to authenticate any payments, and it works just like Apple Pay.

Apple told the developers they were overhauling the App Store, giving it a fresh look, and beginning to add the floor plans of shops and airports to its map program. We know Siri is getting some more elegant voices, but we'll have to see if how it makes the leap into this new body before rendering a final verdict. It uses Apple's A8 chip (which is also used on the company's flagship iPhones), and comes with high-excursion woofer, six microphone array, seven tweeter array inside a seamless mesh fabric.

Changes included making iPads more efficient and being able to send money to friends using Apple's messaging application for mobile devices.

Other reports by VgToday

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