Apple aims to 'reinvent home music' with HomePod smart speaker

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Unveiled at WWDC 2017, the Apple HomePod is Apple's answer to Amazon Echo and Google Home, equipped with the existing Siri voice assistant that we're familiar with from its inclusion on the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac devices.

The technology giant also announced a new software kit for developers called ARKit, which will enabled app developers to build augmented reality apps on Apple's platforms more easily.

After first appearing on phones, voice assistants entered the home in a big way with the Amazon Echo, a speaker that was equipped with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant.

Apple also said it was making its virtual assistant Siri more aware of context, enabling it to recommend and remind users more accurately based on how they use their device.

Disappointingly, recent comments by Apple VP Phil Schiller which suggested that Apple was thinking along the lines of a Siri speaker with an integrated screen - turned out to be false. It has a ring of seven small "tweeter" speakers arranged in a ring around the bottom of the unit and a large 4-inch woofer in the middle.

The HomePod is then able to use a technology called beam-sensing and real-time acoustic modelling which allows it to effectively "scan" the room and adjust the audio to make the best possible sound in the position you've placed it. Jump to 3 months later... we get that feeling of deja-vu looking at Apple's latest release.

HomePod includes Siri voice integration and will function as a "home assistant", according to Schiller. It remains to be seen whether the HomePod's audio quality is as good as advertised, but at least among the Echo product family, sound quality is definitely a secondary feature.

HomePod packs powerful speaker technology, Siri intelligence and wireless access to the entire Apple Music library into a handsome speaker that is less than 7 inches tall, can rock most any room with distortion-free music and be a helpful assistant around your home.

Apple will begin shipping the HomePod to the United States, Britain and Australia in December.

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The research firm IDC says Apple and Xiaomi each has a worldwide market share of almost 15 percent in the first quarter.

According to technology market research firm Futuresource Consulting Ltd.

The price is quite a jump from Google's $129 Home and Amazon's $180 full-sized Echo. Other than music, the device also works for setting reminders, schedules and weather updates.

John Knoll of Industrial Light & Magic, right, speaks about virtual reality during an announcement of new products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif., Monday, June 5, 2017.

With consumers less interested in buying new tablets, Apple has increased its focus on designing tablets for professionals to do much of the same work that they usually perform on a laptop computer. Apple is already three years behind Amazon.

Internally, the speaker will be powered by an Apple A8 chip, which was previously used in the iPhone 6 series and the current-generation Apple TV.

This week's event, known as the Worldwide Developers Conference, convenes thousands of developers who create apps for Apple's operating system. Fitbit, once the leader of wearable devices, is third at about 12 percent.

Federighi said that the performance of CoreML "really is incredible", and he said that iPhone 7 recognizes images more than six times faster than Google Pixel or Samsung Galaxy S8.

MacOS High Sierra features a shift from HFS to the Apple File System, which is supposed to be faster, more secure and more reliable. The new iOS is also adding powerful multitasking support for the iPad.