Here's our first look at Apple's new HomePod smart speaker

06 Juin, 2017, 10:29 | Author: Claudine Rigal

HomePod includes Siri voice integration and will function as a "home assistant", according to Schiller.

The trend-setting company also is putting new twists on existing products as it delves deeper into virtual reality and a form of artificial intelligence called machine learning.

Apple has announced its own connected smart speaker to rival Amazon's Echo and Google Home, as the Californian company throws its hat into the smart home arena. As a music-playing device, it will also be a challenger to Sonos, whose wifi-controlled speakers are used by many smartphone users for home entertainment. It will start shipping in December for $349 in white and space gray colors. Combined with Siri you'll be able to ask it to "play more from this band" or ask for more songs with the same guitarist and the like. "It will reinvent home audio", boasted Apple CEO Tim Cook.

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. As the name suggests, like Alexa powers the Echo speakers, and Google Assistant powers Google's Home speakers, Siri would assist these speakers. Google followed with its Home speaker, featuring its plain-named Assistant, last year. The research firm eMarketer says than 35 million people in the USA are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than doubling from last year.

It is the first new device Apple has announced in nearly three years.

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The lack of a breakthrough device has periodically raised concerns that Apple has become too dependent on the iPhone and supported the theory that the company lost its knack for innovation when its co-founder Steve Jobs died of cancer in 2011. During Jobs' last decade, Apple introduced the iPod, iPhone and iPad - all huge commercial successes that both reshaped daily life and swamped previous digital music players, smartphones and tablets.

Inventec Corp., the Taipei manufacturer that already makes the AirPod wireless headphones, will add the speaker to its Apple repertoire, the people said. This overall adoption is still tiny compared to, say, the number of people using smartphones every month, but growing faster.

Here's a taste of what we can expect on Monday. New iMacs released Monday are getting better displays and graphics capabilities. Another Safari feature will stop video from automatically playing on websites. It will not block the ads themselves, though. The idea is to get outside software programmers geared up to write apps for Apple products.

Software updates are also expected for Apple's smartwatch and TV box for streaming online video. Founded in 1846, AP has covered all the major news events of the past 165 years, providing high-quality, informed reporting of everything from wars and elections to championship games and royal weddings.

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