Apple will keep conversations with Siri and HomePod a secret

For the last few weeks, rumors have been swirling regarding the expected announcement of an Apple Siri speaker device that was on par with Amazon's Echo and Google's Home.

"Just like we did with portable music, we want to reinvent home music", Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the Worldwide Developers Conference, where HomePod was unveiled, becoming Apple's first new device since the release of the Apple Watch in 2015.

In a nod to Amazon streaming fans, Apple is also bringing Amazon Prime to its Apple TV app. That's OK: The company is hoping that HomePod's audio performance, its ability to suggest great music through Apple Music, and its Siri-powered voice interface will set HomePod apart from the competition. Following in the Apple "pod" and "pad" naming tradition, HomePod uses Siri's machine intelligence for awareness in order to judge the size of the room and decide on music volumes all by itself.

Although Apple has had Siri on its iPhones for years, for it to appear in smart home speakers stands as the company's first move of developing a new technology to meet customer demand.

You might wonder why it took Apple this long to launch a home speaker. Even then, any data sent to Apple servers is encrypted and anonymised.

One was a new US$349 smart "HomePod" home speaker to 'reinvent ' home audio, which will be available in the United Kingdom and in the USA in December. Design wise, the Siri speaker is said to look similar to Apple's trashcan Mac Pro. On Monday at WWDC, Apple is expected to announce an entirely new piece of hardware so it can compete with.

Apple WWDC continues through June 9. Yes, you can do the same thing with an Amazon Echo or a Google Home, but remember: This is an Apple gadget.

The Photos app is adding new filters, and Apple says it has improved the face detection feature. Like other smart speakers, audio information isn't sent to Apple's cloud until this voice command has been issued, Apple said.

Going head-to-head with Google Home's speech recognition or Amazon Echo's voice command developer ecosystem could have been disastrous.

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".

It'll also have bass management through real-time software modeling that ensures the speaker delivers the deepest and cleanest bass possible, with low distortion, according to Apple.

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 also debuted the iMac Pro, created to be its flagship desktop machine.

Apple's speaker will launch this December in white or gray and will cost $349.

Details for the app are scarce, although the site says the leaked listing reveals it will only be compatible with 64-bit devices, meaning it will work on most devices produced after the iPad Air and iPhone 5S.

And the operating system for mobile devices is getting a major update with iOS 11.

  • Arturo Norris