Apple enters the speaker market

At the company's annual developer conference on Monday, Apple announced a new WiFi speaker called HomePod that will play music and respond to voice commands with Apple's digital assistant, Siri.

Apple promises that it'll be really loud, the sound will come from a cylindrical-shaped speaker that is just 7 inches tall. For instance, the iPhone, is one of the most expensive smartphones, yet Apple sells it tens of millions every year.

Interestingly, we can also connect two HomePods, which will work automatically together, to produce good music.

HomePod is Apple's official foray into the smart speaker market. "Apple will carve out some sales in the smart speaker market with HomePod but will continue to stand far behind Amazon and Google by the end of 2017", Ronan de Renesse, of the analysis firm Ovum, said in an email.

Price/Features: Full worldwide HomePod pricing hasn't been shared by Apple yet however, we do know the speaker will be priced at $349 in the US.

HomePod owners also won't haveto tinker with the speaker to fit its position in a room, Apple said.

Apple's next big gadget is the HomePod, a miniature home speaker powered by the company's Siri voice assistant.

Amazon first launched the service on Apple TV in December. It will be available in other countries next year.

HomePod, shipping in December, also aims to increase subscribers to Apple Music.

The conference is typically devoted to software updates and this year, Apple released a series of new features and updates for the iPhone, the iPad, Mac and the Apple Watch - including an augmented-reality kit for developers aimed at making the iPhone "the largest AR platform in the world". The company "can't afford to yield valuable real-estate in the heart of people's homes to Amazon, Google and others", said Geoff Blaber, research analyst at CCS Insight. It starts shipping in the U.S, United Kingdom and Australia in December and will roll out to other countries later. These types of music-related capabilities are limited to Apple Music subscribers, though; if you don't want to pay a monthly fee, Siri won't be able to help you here. "Customers are also reportedly able to receive answers to more complex questions, like "'who's the drummer in this?'" song.

Apple also unveiled new Macs, addressing complaints that Apple has let its Mac lineup languish in favor of its better-selling products, namely the iPhone.

The free software update for mobile devices, iOS 11, is expected in September, when Apple typically releases new iPhones. With an all-flash architecture and all-new thermal design, the iMac Pro comes with a new space grey enclosure and a 27-inch Retina 5K display.

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.