Apple confirms its rumored "Siri speaker", officially named HomePod

Elizabeth Williams
June 11, 2017

Apple nodded to several up-and-coming technology trends, unveiling a new "smart" home speaker and device features touching on virtual reality, online privacy and a form of artificial intelligence called machine learning.

It'll also have bass management through real-time software modeling that ensures the speaker delivers the deepest and cleanest bass possible, with low distortion, according to Apple. The tablets run the new A10X Fusion processor, with a six-core CPU and 12-core GPU for what Apple says is up to 30 percent faster CPU performance and 40 percent faster graphics than its A9X, while still providing up to ten hours battery life.

Autoplay blocking, which stops music and video from playing without your permission on websites. In one demo, Apple executive Craig Federighi pointed a camera at a table on stage and added a virtual coffee cup and a lamp on the real table. It will come in December starting at about $5,000.

HomePod capped a keynote presentation at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference that included updates to its iPad and Mac laptop lines, and upgraded operating software enabling augmented reality for iPhones and iPads. Integrated Siri capabilities allow the speaker to act as a "musicologist" with Apple Music, which can be streamed directly to the HomePod without requiring an intermediate iOS device.

Some of the most popular apps, such as Facebook, Instagram and Sanpchat, don't cost anything.

The most powerful Mac, the iMac Pro. Similar in function to Google Now, this new delivery mechanism is built around showing predictive information cards based on time, location and interests, to name a few.

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"You're dealing with one Siri", said Apple software chief Craig Federighi.

Apple saved its most anticipated WWDC announcement for the very end. Making the most of it will require a subscription to Apple's own music streaming service, which runs $10 to $15 per month and has attracted 27 million subscribers so far.

Integration with iCloud, so messages sync across devices. You'll be able to ask Siri, "How do you say this in Chinese?" and it will speak it. Languages include Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish, with more coming in the future.

For photos, Apple is replacing JPEGs with a new format meant to reduce file sizes. Apple Pay, for example, appears to be the first app that will enter conversations in iMessage to make suggestions.

A survey released last month by research firm eMarketer found Echo speakers held 70.6 percent of the United States market, compared with 23.8 percent for Google Home. A Today section will show off apps the company wants to highlight, a Games tab will do the same for games and also display in-app purchases. The device will compete with Amazon's Alexa and Google Home, and is scheduled to be released later this year, the company said.

Other reports by VgToday

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