IT&Software

Apple to showcase new features for its gadgets

Apple to showcase new features for its gadgets

The tech firm also updated its Apple Pay system to enable users to directly pay other people using a text message as part of its iOS 11 upgrade.

Apple priced the HomePod at $349, with plans to ship it in December first to customers in the US, UK, and Australia.

The Echo, released in 2015, and Google Home, released a year ago, were the first entrants in a promising market.

While Apple may hope that people buy into the idea of HomePod serving a different, more musical objective than its Amazon and Google rivals, people really like using their speakers for services beyond listening to music. Since the company already has a voice assistant with Siri, it seemed like creating a hardware speaker would be a no-brainer.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said on Monday that Amazon Prime Video would be available on Apple TV and other Apple devices starting later this year.

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HomePod marks Apple's attempt to put a stake in the smart-home assistant hardware market, an area now dominated by Amazon's growing array of Alexa-running devices, like its Echo speaker, and Google's Home gadget, which runs Google Assistant.

Apple Inc on Monday rolled out new Siri capabilities to better integrate the voice-activated assistant across devices, a move that comes as the service faces stiff competition from rival offerings like Amazon.com Inc's Alexa. Although Apple Watch has emerged as the leader among smartwatches, it hasn't become a smash hit like the iPhone.

Following Echo being a runaway success, Google copied it with its Home assistant. The speaker will use an array of six microphones for voice control via Siri, and seven tweeters for audio playback. Powered by an A8 chip, the device also boasts echo cancellation technology and real time acoustic and bass modelling.

Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller announces HomePod as he speaks during the opening keynote address the 2017 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) at the San Jose Convention Center on June 5, 2017 in San Jose, California. Dubbed HomePod, the new speaker features voice control and spatial awareness to adapt the sound to different rooms. This is very similar to Sonos' Trueplay feature, which similarly tunes its speakers to any room. HomePod also works as a home assistant, just like Echo. The integration with Siri just makes sense although, as it was pointed out by many spectators, the naming of the HomePod was a little bit underwhelming. For Apple, having one would further broaden the role that its software, services and gadgets play in people's lives.

Apple wanted its speaker's audio performance to be top-of-the-line.


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