New Smart Speaker Expected as Apple Kicks Off Worldwide Developers Conference

In the field of, for instance Amazon Echo-style home assistants, that could leave Apple HomePod looking very much like it's arrived late at the party, because it couldn't decide what tie to wear, and then it took the wrong route.

Apple's John Ternus speaks during an announcement of new products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif., Monday, June 5, 2017.

Amazon and Google's existing speakers have proved popular with consumers since the Echo launched in the United Kingdom in 2016 and Home earlier this year.

Home-Pod is a seven-inch tall speaker for playing music, checking the news, controlling other connected devices in the house and more.

HomePod, powered Apple's Siri digital assistant, will be priced at $349 when it begins shipping in December in the United States, Australia and Britain, the tech giant announced at its annual developers conference.

The company said its App Store has so far paid out $70 billion to developers, of which 30 per cent was made past year. Apple's HomePod will rely on its own HomeKit for support while Google Home has various partners for smart home hardware that include Samsung, Nest and Philips. Apple claims that the underlying image recognition that powers this feature is much faster than that available on Google Android and its hardware.

Safari, Apple's web browser, is getting new features aimed at online annoyances.

That's because both the Home and Echo can tap into all the data from your personal and shopping accounts, letting you talk to your calendar and order new dishwasher tablets. Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of marketing, mentioned that the speaker can execute acoustic modeling in real-time.

On the software front, RBC Capital analyst Amit Daryanani expects the iOS 11 - the next operating system for Apple's iPhones and iPads - to get an overhaul that will accommodate the anticipated removal of the home button from the 10th anniversary model of the iPhone due out later this year.

Amazon is already available on rival devices such as Roku and, of course, Amazon's Fire TV. There's a lot of chatter around Apple showcasing Siri-based smart home speaker tonight.

Apple said it had updated the processors in its iMac and MacBook Pro lineup to Intel's most recent "Kaby Lake" processors.

Apple is also bringing the ability to send money to friends or other people through its payment service, Apple Pay. It unveiled the Apple Watch in September 2014. "It will reinvent home audio", boasted Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Apple Watch has emerged as the market leader for smartwatches - but it has competition after including basic fitness trackers in the count.

Mark Gurman at Bloomberg News wrote earlier this year that the company didn't move ahead with features that would have given its Apple TV web-streaming product higher-quality video streaming and a video game controller in part because it didn't want to skimp on its profit margin.

  • Zachary Reyes