Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an announcement of new products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose Monday. U.S. pricing is $349, global pricing information will come a bit later. The success of the Amazon Echo, released in the United States in 2014, paved the way for Google to follow with its own sleek Google Home device past year.
The move is the first into a completely new area by Apple for more than two years as the world's most valuable technology company looks to make up for a dip in iPhone sales and new ways to get customers to use more of its money-making apps and services. Voiced by a reportedly new and improved Siri, the particular gadget will retail for $349, which is significantly more than its rivals-the Echo now retails for $179 and Google Home for $129-but its speakers are supposedly better than the rest, thus justifying the higher price tag.
Based on reports from the WWDC show floor, the HomePod's audio output has been described as "full, wide, and heavily sculpted", and "amazingly loud for such a small speaker". With HomePod, only after "Hey Siri" is recognized locally on the device will any information be sent to Apple servers, encrypted and sent using an anonymous Siri identifier.As CNet points out, this also means that Apple's HomeKit software now has its own standalone device, meaning that it could attract Android users and others who previously did not want to use Siri through an iPhone or iPad.
HomePod users may initially be constrained by Siri's lack of capabilities as compared to Alexa, which also boasts the ability to order millions of Amazon products as well as food from restaurants like Domino's.
Google recently announced that its Chrome Web browser will block specific ad types by default, including auto-playing video ads.
New features coming to iPhones and iPads, meanwhile, include marginal improvements such as syncing messages to Apple servers in the cloud, saving storage space on phones and tablets.
Along with upgraded versions of iPad and Mac laptops, Apple unveiled an iMac Pro work station that had the computing built in behind the screen and was touted as the most powerful computer the company has ever made.
And the operating system for mobile devices is getting a major update with iOS 11.
Ortutay reported from NY.