Technology

Apple 'HomePod' speaker to take on Amazon, Google

It even comes with Apple's communications encryption technology, which is frankly reassuring.

Yes, this HomePod seems to be designed especially for music, powered by Apple A8 chipset, which will support real-time acoustic modelling, audio beam forming and multi-channel echo cancellation.

In addition, Cook said Apple, headquartered in Cupertino, Northern California, now has 16 million registered software developers worldwide for its consumer electronics, including smartphone known as iPhone, and 3 million of them were added past year.

- More than 5,000 developers from around the world are in San Jose for Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference that kicked off Monday.

HomePod, infused with machine smarts by Siri digital assistant, will be priced at US$349 when it begins shipping in December in the United States, Australia and Britain. Google already tries to be proactive with its Assistant on Android phones and Google Home speaker.

However, Apple is confident that Siri is up to snuff and opted to focus their attention on the tech and audio of the pod itself giving Siri the backseat.

iOS 11 - The update features an improved Siri.

Apple Inc. introduced a music speaker HomePod at an annual gathering of software developers on Monday.

Although the smart speaker market is dominated by Amazon and Google, Apple appears to have set its sights on other players in the speaker market.

"It's clearly about the hardware but also making Siri more obvious to consumers so you can see where she's getting smarter", said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Creative Strategies.

It also said its new Mac High Sierra operating software offers new features for developers designing virtual reality games and experiences.

Apple's new product is a competitor to Google's Home and Amazon's Echo line of smart speakers, which have taken an early lead in the young product category. And prospective buyers will have to be content with the white and Space Grey colour options once the HomePod is released in December.

Apple says Siri extends beyond voice, using on-device learning to deliver more personal experiences and offers suggestions based on personal usage of apps such as Safari, News, Mail and Messages. The HomePod is the product of Apple wanting to create a device that's both a good speaker and a good smart speaker.

The new 27-inch iMac is called the iMac Pro and will be pitched at professional and work users.

Cook and other Apple executives showed off several additional new Siri functions, highlighting how the company has been working to catch up with similar offerings from Alphabet Inc and Amazon.com Inc. AI will also allow users to do new visual tricks with Live Photos that they click, including a long exposure blur effect or a bounce effect clip.



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