New smart speaker expected as Apple kicks off conference

Alan Olson
June 6, 2017

Apple revealed a new smart speaker device, the HomePod, at WWDC.

A lot of things can happen between now and December, and one of them has to be Sonos announcing a speaker (and a retrofit to existing speakers that already have microphones) that runs Alexa, Google Assistant, Google Home, Bixby and whatever other home automation and artificial intelligence bots it can squeeze in there.

So, no surprise then that Apple took the wraps off its home assistant today at its developer conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California.

Siri's name recognition could play a role in HomePod adoption.

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The hardware debut, a rarity at the annual developers conference that traditionally features software and only minor hardware updates, came as analysts and investors watch for signs of the world's largest publicly traded company's next blockbuster product a decade after the introduction of the iPhone.

The speaker has the "power to rock the house", according to Schiller, who said the team worked to make HomePod an potent assistant for news, messages, weather, traffic, home controls and more.

Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the latest operating system for Mac computers. The company also released a new computer, the iMac Pro.

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Starting in iOS 10, released past year, the software built in a safeguarding engine, dubbed "differential privacy", that effectively scrubs and adds noise to user data so that the company can't tell where it's coming from but can still provide useful feedback to the user.

Apple says that all of the information HomePod gathers is encrypted and sent to Apple anonymously.

If Apple unveils a rival to internet-connected speakers from Amazon and Google, it wouldn't be the first time that Apple hops on the bandwagon of a technology product popularized by a competitor.

It is the first new device Apple has announced in nearly three years.

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. Apple may be playing catchup in the home-assistant realm, but it innovated tablets back in 2010 with the original iPad; the only problem is, iPads apparently don't break often enough, resulting in a decline in sales in recent years.

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. The HomePod is the product of Apple wanting to create a device that's both a good speaker and a good smart speaker.

Apple was also expected to unveil improvements to Siri, its digital voice assistant that competes with Amazon.com Inc's Alexa AMZN.O and the Google Assistant helper.

In a nod to Amazon streaming fans, Apple is also bringing Amazon Prime to its Apple TV app. For Apple, having one would further broaden the role that its software, services and gadgets play in people's lives.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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