November 19 2017

New Smart Speaker Expected as Apple Kicks Off Worldwide Developers Conference

November 19 2017, 01:01 | Jodi Jackson

What To Expect At Apple’s Big Event Monday Getty Images

What To Expect At Apple’s Big Event Monday	 	 	 			Getty Images

Users can also use HomePod as an at-home assistant, with Siri providing updates on a number of topics, from news to sports to podcasts. And it would mark an effort by Apple to catch up with Amazon (AMZN) and Google (GOOG). These giants are battling over still-emerging fields that are expected to turn into technological gold mines, much the way personal computers and smartphones became moneymaking machines in previous decades.

HomePod wants to be the best of both worlds, without being that much more expensive than some of its key competitors: The Apple-made speaker will cost consumers $349, and ship in December in the U.S., U.K., and Australia.

Some industry insiders, however, note that Apple will be under more pressure to improve the computing smarts of its Siri software in the face of offerings from rivals Google and Amazon. Additionally, Siri will be able to chime in by answering follow-up questions, and offer multiple results to queries.

The cylindrical speaker, known as the "HomePod", resembles the Mac Pro at 7in tall and promises to "reinvent music in the home".

It starts shipping later this year in the US, United Kingdom and Australia.

Google already tries to be proactive with its Assistant on Android phones and Google Home speaker. Like Google Now, it works across the whole Google portfolio, including Android, ChromeOS and the new Google Home. However, the market for such devices is nascent and expected to grow by 129 percent this year to 35.6 million users.

The move is the first into a completely new area by Apple for more than two years as the world's most valuable technology company looks to make up for a dip in iPhone sales and new ways to get customers to use more of its money-making apps and services. Its Mac Pro hasn't been updated since 2013, and Apple says the next version will be available some time next year. That's a new focus for Apple as it competes with Google and Amazon. We'll be updating this article as and when we know more so please stay tuned. Apple said the same chip used in the iPhone will power the speaker.

Augmented reality is a mixture of live images and virtual animations and objects placed over them.

High Sierra features will include being able to stop unexpected videos from starting to play automatically when landing on web pages and "intelligent tracking prevention" that will prevent ads from following people about the internet. It's part of Apple's effort to entice professionals with tablets that can handle many tasks previously reserved for laptops.

In addition to the support for VR, Apple also announced ARKit, a new tool for developers to create augmented reality experiences for iOS. Before, transactions had been limited to products and services from businesses and institutions.

On the software front, RBC Capital analyst Amit Daryanani expects the iOS 11 - the next operating system for Apple's iPhones and iPads - to get an overhaul that will accommodate the anticipated removal of the home button from the 10th anniversary model of the iPhone due out later this year.

Ortutay reported from NY.

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