Apple pushes Siri to the fore at annual developer conference

Considering the fact that Apple own Beats and targeting Google and Amazon with something they don't have yet does makes sense. But Apple occasionally also uses the event to introduce new devices and services and upgrades to existing products. The device would compete with Amazon.com's Echo speakers and Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google Home device.

Limp also talked about what Amazon has learned about the market and consumer preference as it has released and refined its Echo offerings over the past several years. Apple says "the HomePod provides deep knowledge of personal music preferences and tastes and helps users discover new music".

Available in December, it won't be cheap-$349-but Apple boasts that it will have better audio than its competition.

In one demo at Apple's annual conference for software programmers, Apple executive Craig Federighi pointed a camera at a table on stage and added a virtual coffee cup and a lamp on the real table.

Both speakers come with a built-in smart assistant.

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Powering the HomePod is an Apple A8 processor, which handles all the heavy lifting demands of the real-time acoustic modeling, audio beam forming, and multi-channel echo cancellation. The gadget itself isn't particularly remarkable, but it is an Apple gadget. For instance, Apple initially resisted enlarging the size of iPhone's screen despite strong sales for larger-display phones made by Samsung and other rivals.

The device comes with an Apple Music subscription and an intelligent "musicologist" that can respond to prompts like "Play Beats One radio" or "Who's the drummer in this?" or "Play more like that" or "I like that song".

He also mentioned wireless speaker systems such as Sonos that "sound good but are not smart" and "other smart speakers" that "don't sound great". The company will thus be reinventing the two, a marketing strategy, which will be accomplished through the device.

Apple seems to be concentrating on the music capabilities of the HomePod to start.

Apple announced its latest smartphone operating system, iOS 11; new smartwatch operating system, watchOS 4; and new Mac computer operating system, macOS High Sierra. The more powerful iMac is meant to address concerns of creative professionals who had been limited to much less powerful iMacs or the much-loved Mac Pro, which hasn't been updated since 2013.

  • Douglas Reid