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

Apple also showed off new features for its iOS mobile software and lots of other fun stuff. New MacBook Pros start at $1,299; the iMac Pro starts at $4,999; Apple says they both will ship in December.

Users can play music through speakers throughout their home and control it from their phone.

Apple, unlike Amazon or Google, is more interested in selling hardware than in using its devices to attract users for its services. Schiller waited until last in his announcement of the HomePod even to mention the role of Siri and the ability to answer questions. But the real selling point, as far as Apple is concerned, is the HomePod's sound quality.

Claimed by Apple as the most "advanced iPad display yet", it is certainly bright, crisp, and clear. "In fact, Apple nearly positioned as something that's not that important".

Significant markup improvements will also be added in iOS 11, allowing just about any screen to be marked up with the Apple Pencil, including screenshots, which will now automatically appear in a thumbnail view immediately after they're taken, so that the user can quickly mark them up and re-share them right away. The success of the Echo has obviously persuaded Apple-which is gaining a reputation for being reactive as opposed to proactive in consumer trends-to jump into the smart speaker pool, a decision that will be dependent on how Amazon and Google react to the new kid on the block. According to Futuresource, Alexa has already found its way into 8 percent of American homes.

That leaves Apple. Although it was the first smartphone maker to come out with a digital assistant when Siri debuted in 2011, it hasn't had a stand-alone assistant. This support will allow developers to create a wide range of VR experiences on their Macs.

The first Developer Betas are out, and 32-bit apps are not supported.

David Goldman, vice president of marketing at AR startup Lumus Ltd. With its new user-to-user payment feature, Apple Pay will be going up against competitors like Venmo in a bid to make itself more useful to users. Software updates are also expected for Apple's smartwatch and TV box for streaming online video.

Apple also may introduce its next Mac computer, along with the next operating system powering the machine.

Developers that want to target 32-bit devices can still do so. It also upgraded the internal specs of both this new smaller iPad Pro and the original 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Federighi said that the performance of CoreML "really is incredible", and he said that iPhone 7 recognizes images more than six times faster than Google Pixel or Samsung Galaxy S8.

Apple announced a new augmented reality platform called ARKit, which is included in the new iOS 11 for the iPhone and iPad. This includes a completely redesigned app store with better app discovery, as well as a new "do not disturb while driving" feature that blocks notifications in the auto.

There's also new iMac Pro as well, which features a 5K display; an 8-core Xeon processor (upgradable up to 18-cores); up to a whopping 4TB of solid-state disk storage; built-in 10GB Ethernet; up to 128GB memory; and four Thunderbolt 3 ports.

The Verge reported that iMessage, the native text message app on iPhones, will send an automatic message to any texts that come in to say that the user is driving.

  • Arturo Norris