Apple unveils $349 HomePod to compete with Amazon Echo, Google Home

Alyssa Bailey
June 7, 2017

Like other smart speakers, audio information isn't sent to Apple's cloud until this voice command has been issued, Apple said. Siri will be voice activated to respond to requests for information and other help around the house.

Like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, the HomePod will play music while also helping people to manage their lives and homes. The research firm eMarketer says than 35 million people in the USA are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than double its estimate from last year.

The next version of iOS, which powers the iPhone and iPad, as well as desktop software macOS and the Apple Watch's watchOS were also updated at the firm's Worldwide Developer Conference, WWDC.

HomePod will be taking Amazon Echo and Google Home, which have been building momentum in the market for voice-controlled speakers capable of controlling smart appliances, fetching content from the internet and more.

Observers claim that the real competition between Apple, Google and Amazon in smart speakers may come down to the quality of their intelligent assistants.

Siri, which was introduced in 2011 as an exclusive feature of the iPhone 4S, now works on iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, Apple Watches, and Mac computers. Before, Apple Pay transactions could be done only with businesses and institutions.

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The mobile operating system will also get a new file management system that is much more closely aligned with the traditional file systems found on desktop and laptop computers. It will allow users to automatically block auto-play videos by detecting videos that shouldn't be playing when you open a webpage to read an article, for example.

Apple's new iMacs are getting brighter displays and graphics capabilities, which Apple says makes the Mac a great platform for developing virtual-reality experiences. It will not actually block ads, though.

Along with upgraded versions of iPad and Mac laptops, Apple provided look at an iMac Pro work station that had the computing built in behind the screen and was touted as the most powerful computer the company has ever made. Yet it isn't as bulky as the 12.9-inch model. Schiller spent a lot of time talking about how good it sounds. But it's a lot cheaper than the iPhone, which starts at US$649 (RM2,762) and is now the main way people access Siri. 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.

Apple is also updating the operating software for its Apple Watch, including new watch faces, more personalized alerts that use machine learning to tailor information to you based on your routines and tastes.

It also enhanced its workout app to, for instance, support high intensity interval training.

New York- Speculation over what Apple will do to compete in the home hub market is spinning up ahead of Apple's annual developers conference this week, where many analysts expect the company to confirm the project. Apple's approach protects privacy, but might make the service less useful when switching devices.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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