Sci-tech

New smart speaker expected as Apple kicks off conference

New smart speaker expected as Apple kicks off conference”

Apple unveiled the HomePod at its developers conference on Monday.

In announcing the HomePod, Apple CEO Tim Cook said there are many companies making products for enjoying music in the home but "none have nailed it yet".

The Homepod, which stands at a mere seven inches tall, will integrate with Apple's Homekit apps, allowing users to adjust air conditioning, lighting, and more.

Expect Apple's speaker to be better-looking than Amazon and Google's gizmos and more stylish with better sound quality.

While Apple is going after Amazon with the HomePod, it's offering an olive branch with Apple TV.

Unsurprisingly, Siri is a key element in the Homepod. Users can also ask the HomePod questions about whatever music is playing, like "Who's playing drums on this track?" The existing crop of intelligent home assistants sort of suck at audio. "In fact, Apple nearly positioned as something that's not that important".

When the HomePod is released this December, it will be available in both White and Space Grey finishes.

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 said it would make the device available in additional markets next year.

According to technology market research firm Futuresource Consulting Ltd.

02/05/2017: Apple may be gearing up to release a Siri-enabled speaker to take on the Amazon Echo and Google Home, according to reports.

McIlwain said he expects Apple to add new categories at next week's bash, but not almost enough to match Alexa's number of skills.

The gadget is also rumoured to have controls on its surface, which is a rather unusual move for Apple.

Apple also offered some hints about new capabilities in the next iPhone, including so-called augmented reality, in which digital information is overlaid on real-world images. The company is also encouraging developers to do more with Siri by opening software tools to incorporate Siri into apps. Apple is yet to reveal what it will cost in the United Kingdom, but we expect to see it price around £300. "This is the first step in creating an immersive AR experience for consumers".

Virtual reality is coming to Apple's Mac computers. There's no word yet on support for third-party services, or ways for developers to adapt their services for HomePod.

Inside the mesh-wrapped 18cm cylinder is Apple's A8 processor - the same silicon powerplant as the iPhone 6 series - atop an array of speakers and microphones. Apple also detailed that AirPlay 2, a new feature of iOS 11, will give you multiroom audio control, so we imagine that HomePod will fit right into that scenario, like Sonos would.

For photos, Apple is replacing JPEGs with a new format meant to reduce file sizes.

The new features will come in a software update expected in a few months.

The new driving mode silences notifications, turns the phone's display off, and can automatically reply to messages to warn friends that you are driving.

Then there's the new iPad Pro.



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