January 16, 2018

Apple unveils HomePod Speaker, taking on Amazon Echo and Google Home

10 June 2017, 12:41 | Virginia Santiago

Apple Home Pod speaker announced at Apple's Apple Worldwide Developers Conference

Apple Home Pod speaker announced at Apple's Apple Worldwide Developers Conference

Siri can do those things, too, but Apple's pitch for Siri-powered HomePod is instead focused heavily on music - the company appears to bank on consumers paying for smart speakers that deliver high-quality audio sound as a sort of gateway into the world of smart home assistants.

Apple made the argument that the HomePod speaker combines the best of the new speaker idea out there. The main drawback is the price - at £270 it's more than double the cost of Google Home and £120 more than the Amazon Echo. The research firm eMarketer said than 35 million people in the USA are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than double its estimate from last year.

Apple's been fairly quiet lately when it comes to the news cycle, unless you count CEO Tim Cook's recent admonishment of the POTUS-along with just about every other Silicon Valley company-for pulling the US out of the Paris Climate Accord.

Apple is about to update every single one of its products. Apple TV owners, he said, will be soon be able to watch "great original content" like Transparent, Man in the High Castle, and Catastrophe. All that's driven by an Apple A8 processor, similar to what's inside the iPhone 6 and fourth-generation Apple TV.

To that end, Apple is splitting out the games and apps categories, and providing in-house features on the essential downloads for your iPhone or iPad.

Apple is trying to make augmented reality a reality with new tools for iPhones and iPads. Apple's entry could change this, as it did for digital-music sales, with iTunes, or the smartphone market with the iPhone.

For photos, Apple is replacing JPEGs with a new format meant to reduce file sizes.

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Naturally, it's created to work seamlessly with Apple Music, but we'll have to wait and see whether it's quite as smart when playing with the likes of Spotify.

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

For Apple fanatics: Will you be purchasing? It will not actually block ads, though.

The new MacBook now features up to 50 percent faster SSDs and supports up to twice the memory, the 15-inch MacBook Pro now comes standard with more powerful discrete graphics, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro adds a new US$1,299 configuration. But Apple occasionally also uses the event to introduce new devices and services and upgrades to existing products.

The new 10.5-inch model reduces the borders by almost 40 percent to fit into an incredibly compact package that still weighs just one pound.

The Apple HomePod will start shipping in December 2017, but only to a few countries.

The watch can communicate with some gym equipment to share data between the two - like your heart rate or the treadmill's incline. Apple's four software platforms - iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS - provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud.

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