Arts&Culture

Apple Finally Unveiled its Amazon Echo Rival

To be clear, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Snap have all been busy in both AI and AR.

Apparently Apple knows Siri kinda sucks, because it was the last thing mentioned in the unveiling of the new HomePod speaker.

The $350 HomePod is billed as a combination of a smart speaker, like the Echo, and a wifi home speaker system, like Sonos. Amazon has heavily dominated the field with its home speaker called Echo, which uses the digital assistant Alexa. It can wirelessly access over 40 million songs from the service. Users can also ask the HomePod questions about whatever music is playing, like "Who's playing drums on this track?"

Apple CEO Tim Cook will make all the announcements on the new updates and possibly new hardware.

It's time for Apple to surprise us again, and the pressure is on the tech giant as it preps for its annual developers conference.

The long anticipated Apple rival to the Amazon Echo and Google Home, dubbed Home Pod, has arrived. Google delivered an Android Auto feature for smartphones a year ago. The research firm eMarketer says 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 Pay is making a play in the peer-to-peer payments space.

Still, the Apple Watch hasn't been a smash hit, fueling worries that the company's ability to transfix customers had waned after the 2011 death of co-founder Steve Jobs.

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Apple earlier introduced a new version of its iPad Pro, as well as a raft of new software updates.

Analysts said the smart home speaker market is ripe for Apple. Siri will also be able to create a shared Up Next queue with everyone in the home.

Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi said the next Mac operating system will be named "High Sierra" in tribute to the California mountain range.

"New indoor maps of areas like malls and airports indicated that Apple might be laying groundwork to display information over images of those places in the future". Apple said that makes the Mac a great platform for developing virtual-reality "experiences", although the company didn't announce any consumer VR products. It will not block the ads themselves, though.

Aside from the new speaker, Apple also took the opportunity to announce new iPad Pros, an iMac Pro and iMac updates.

A lot of news surrounding Apple there, and can only expect plenty more over the next week at WWDC.

More broadly, Apple has built tools for artificial intelligence and augmented reality, and now the company is starting to let outside developers use those tools to enhance their own applications. Before, transactions had been limited to products and services from businesses and institutions.



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