Apple unveils 'HomePod' connected speaker at WWDC

  • Apple unveils 'HomePod' connected speaker at WWDC

Apple unveils 'HomePod' connected speaker at WWDC

The success of the Amazon Echo, released in the United States in 2014, paved the way for Google to follow with its own sleek Google Home device a year ago.

The speaker will sell for about $350 in December in the USA, United Kingdom and Australia.

"Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes", said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing.

Apple hopes to do the same with the release of the HomePod, Apple's second new device introduced under Apple chief executive Tim Cook. Simply saying the words "Hey Siri" will effectively awaken the Apple HomePod, while playing music can also be achieved in extremely straightforward fashion with the intelligent assistant. But this year, Apple took the opportunity to announce not just a smart speaker, but also a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, a professional-centric iMac Pro all-in-one desktop computer, as well as updated versions of the iMac and MacBook Pro computers.

Like those other products it is created to be a digital home assistant, capable of answering questions about maths as well as music-related enquiries - but it comes with some Apple quirks. But while Siri improved incrementally, it was overtaken by rivals such as Google's Assistant, and faces competition from Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana too.

HomePod like all the other Apple devices send information to Apple's server in encrypted form and with your unique Siri identifier that makes your personal information secure.

Apple File System (APFS) offers enhanced security, performance and reliability.

The market for Internet-connected speakers and other smart home technology may be big enough to help Apple diversify. Once iOS 11 rolls out and you install it on your iPhone or iPad, the virtual assistant Siri will leverage the power of deep learning techniques, to add new features to its offerings and learn user preferences constantly.

More broadly, Apple has built tools for artificial intelligence and augmented reality, and now the company is starting to let outside developers use those tools to enhance their own applications. It also comes with a 27-inch Retina 5K display, a new thermal design that brings 80 percent more cooling capacity and all-flash memory architecture.

Mac models were also boosted to work with virtual reality gear, a move by Apple into technology that Facebook has embraced with its Oculus unit.

The new version of Apple's mobile operating system has received a series of updates, including an update to Siri. That's a bold claim given that this is Apple's first major foray into the speaker market.