Apple's HomePod speaker pumps up the volume on tech rivals

Joanna Estrada
June 6, 2017

However, as an interesting point of difference, it looks like it'll be coming to the iPad and iPhone before MacOS - suggesting that Apple are looking to make the production pipeline for AR experiences on the iPhone a very streamlined one. It will allow users to automatically block auto-play videos by detecting videos that shouldn't be playing when you open a webpage to read an article, for example.

Apple is hoping a new smart home speaker will strike a chord with music lovers - the latest test of the iPhone maker's ability to redefine markets originally staked out by its rivals.

HomePod is a seven-inch-tall speaker that has Apple's digital assistant built in. The assistant now has a more natural voice, and it can process follow-up questions as well as answer with multiple types of results to the same query.

"A lot of the industry has been waiting for someone like Apple to come in and legitimize the space", said Tom Mainelli, an IDC analyst. Augmented reality is the blending of the physical and virtual worlds. Siri, a digital assistant that has been on Apple's iPhone since 2011, will be voice activated to respond to requests for information and other help around the house.

Apple says the feature will be able to detect when an iPhone user is moving in a auto, though users can set favourite contacts that are still able to reach them even when the feature is enabled. Apple's entry into the market could change that. Daryanani said Apple may also announce an iPad Pro with a faster processor in an attempt to revive its long-slumping tablet sales. The new model starts at $649 and will start shipping next week.

Apple also unveiled new Macs, addressing complaints that Apple has let its Mac lineup languish in favor of its better-selling products, namely the iPhone.

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an announcement of new products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif., Monday, June 5, 2017.

Without system-level integration, iOS may fall back on the mobile web, The Verge reported.

Siri extends beyond voice, using on-device learning to deliver more personal experiences and offers suggestions based on personal usage of Safari, News, Mail, Messages and more. Although the format is not exclusive to Apple, it's not yet clear how well the photos will work with non-Apple software and devices, which mostly use JPEG. Meanwhile, Live Photos now have loop and bounce effects while users will be able to trip them as needed. Person to person payments and Apple Pay Cash will be available in the U.S. on iPhone SE, iPhone 6 and later, iPad Pro, iPad 5th generation, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3 and Apple Watch this fall. The Maps application can now show users detailed floor plans and directories of malls across multiple cities. Google Maps already does both.

Those not driving can exit from this mode.

Although WWDC is focused on software announcements, this year we are expecting a couple hardware surprises.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.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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