Apple pushes Siri to the fore at annual developer conference

Apple pushes Siri to the fore at annual developer conference

Apple pushes Siri to the fore at annual developer conference

Like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, the HomePod will play music while also helping people to manage their lives and homes.

The HomePod will hit the market in December in the U.S., U.K., and Australia for $349.

HomePod is created to work with the Apple Music subscription service and can produce rich sound while tapping into the artificial intelligence power of Siri. Six microphones allow the speaker to hear audio commands from across the room, even when loud music is playing, and Apple has expanded Siri's vocabulary and intelligence to allow it to respond to a wide variety of music-related queries.

A key issue for any manufacturer of a voice-activated smart device, Apple states "security and privacy are fundamental" to the design of HomePod, as with other Apple products.

The conference is typically devoted to software updates and this year, Apple released a series of new features and updates for the iPhone, the iPad, Mac and the Apple Watch - including an augmented-reality kit for developers aimed at making the iPhone "the largest AR platform in the world".

HomePod will retail for $349 and is set for release in December in the US, the United Kingdom and Australia, and it will come to other countries sometime in 2018.

The price is quite a jump from Google's $129 Home and Amazon's $180 full-sized Echo.

The Echo, released in 2015, and Google Home, released a year ago, have helped plant the seeds for a promising market.

More than 35 million people in the US are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than doubling from last year, according the research firm eMarketer.

Apple was keen to trumpet updates to its macOS High Sierra including improvements to its storage and graphics updates, but it is the Intelligent Tracking Prevention enhancement to its Safari web browser that will most concern media professionals.

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 mapping program.

But AAPL could also be an Epic Fail if the new phone gets "meh" reviews when it's release. After announcing the device, Apple may give third-party developers a few months of time to develop services for the speaker before it becomes available.

Apple's much-awaited Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is set to kick off Monday at 10 a.m.

The research firm IDC says Apple and Xiaomi each has a worldwide market share of almost 15 per cent in the first quarter.

But Apple is late to the game on VR.

It unveiled HomePod, a new 7-inch tall speaker for playing music, checking the news and controlling other connected devices in the home. That isn't to say Apple has built poor devices (it hasn't), just that none of them have been an ideal home for its voice assistant. Daryanani said Apple may also announce an iPad Pro with a faster processor in an attempt to revive its long-slumping tablet sales. The HomePod supports a list of features, including unit conversion, messages, news, podcast playback, reminders, translation, general knowledge, weather, traffic info, sports scores, setting alarms, timers, and will also work as a HomeKit bridge.

At the event, Apple also announced updates to its mobile operating system, iOS, and its Mac operating system.

Apple made a big deal about bringing Siri to the Apple TV, but you don't hear much about it anymore.

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