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Main » Apple WWDC 2017 highlights: Siri, HomePod, iOS 11, and more

Apple WWDC 2017 highlights: Siri, HomePod, iOS 11, and more

10 June 2017

As a home assistant, HomePod is a great way to send messages, get updates on news, sports and weather, or control smart home devices by simply asking Siri, which many thought initially would be called Siri Speaker. This is a new Apple product that was announced today and it is a smartspeaker.

A new Apple HomePod smart speaker is seen on display during Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference.

At US$349 (RM1,485), the HomePod is more expensive than the most-expensive Amazon Echo - the US$230 (RM979) Echo Show - and the Google Home, priced at US$129 (RM549).

The company is casting Siri as a music connoisseur that will learn and cater to the tastes of the HomePod's owners, as well as answer questions about the songs as they are played.

The Apple HomePod, being a combination of a speaker and a home assistant functions as both.

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Apple Inc. introduced Monday a music speaker, its first hardware since Apple Watch was rolled out two years ago, at an annual gathering of software developers. However, Siri has been slow to improve its voice-recognition technology and set of responses, especially compared with the more capable Alexa and Google Assistant.

Amazon sells Echo devices for $179, and smaller "Dot" versions for $50.

A survey released last month by research firm eMarketer found Echo speakers held 70.6 percent of the United States market, compared with 23.8 percent for Google Home and 5.6 percent for others including Lenovo, LG, Harmon Kardon and Mattel.

A new Siri interface on the Apple Watch will also blend users' calendar information with other useful details, like airline tickets they may have booked, the company said. At WWDC, Apple announced the speaker category for HomeKit, so other speaker makers could more tightly integrate with iOS.

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Usually, Apple only drops support for the oldest iPhone and iPad in a new iOS release, but this time around it is including the iPhone 5c too.

To revive interest in its once-hot tablets, Apple is introducing a 10.5-inch iPad Pro with more storage, a better camera and room for a full-size keyboard.

The new 27-inch iMac is called the iMac Pro and will be pitched at professional and work users.

Apple Maps will get lane guidance for highways and floor plans for indoor malls and airports. It's a software developer kit that allows developers to create augmented reality apps.

When asked why it took so long for Apple to release a speaker of this kind, the company's chief executive officer, Tim Cook, said it was a matter of taking the time to build a product consumers would appreciate.

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