Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

Apple Joins Smart-Speaker Race With Music-Focused 'HomePod'

Stacy Diaz | 06 June, 2017, 04:55

Chief among those innovations is the Homepod, Apple's answer to Amazon's Echo and Google's Google Home.

Apple is taking on Amazon Echo and Google Home: The company announced a new voice-controlled speaker during its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif., on Monday.

The HomePod's cylindrical shape also reminded some people of another recently decomissioned Apple product. The speaker would leverage Apple's personal assistant Siri, which has thus far only existed as a feature on the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV, rather than as a standalone device.

Apple is officially jumping into the home speaker market. Created to pair with an iPhone and play music via a user's Apple Music subscription, the device will also field queries and control other smart home devices thanks to Siri integration. Apple hasn't confirmed other avenues of connection, but we'd imagine that Bluetooth and AirPlay 2 are part of the package - the inclusion of AirPlay would mean a wide range of services are supported direct from your iPhone or iPad and Apple has said that you'll be able to play your own music, we're just not sure how, yet.

The tech giant confirmed the device would go on sale in December in the US, UK and Australia.

Improvements to the AirPlay feature for sharing audio from iOS devices, which one-ups Google's invasion of home audio speakers through the Chromecast Audio dongle. Google followed with its Home speaker, featuring its plain-named Assistant, last year. 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.

In previous years, Apple has introduced next generation operating systems for its computers, tablets, and phones; unveiled new services such as Apple Music; and announced redesigned Mac computers and accessories.

According to technology market research firm Futuresource Consulting Ltd.

The lack of a breakthrough device has periodically raised concerns that Apple has become too dependent on the iPhone and supported the theory that the company lost its knack for innovation when its co-founder Steve Jobs died of cancer in 2011. Apple said the same chip used in the iPhone will power the speaker.

The sci-fi vision of a connected home is quickly becoming a reality: both Amazon and Google have launched smart assistants, with an Apple offering based on Siri is rumoured to be on the way. Apple said all communications are encrypted.

New iMacs released Monday are getting better displays and graphics capabilities. But with the company feeling pressure from rivals in the home computer and laptop spaces - and with many of its Mac lines having languished without significant updates for quite a while - many analysts were tipping an uncharacteristically hardware-heavy show, and that's exactly what we got. Another Safari feature will stop video from automatically playing on websites. It will not block the ads themselves, though.

Augmented reality is a mixture of live images and virtual animations and objects placed over them.

Apple is also bringing the ability to pay back a friend or other individual through its payment service, Apple Pay.

The free software, iOS 11, is expected in September, when Apple typically releases new iPhones.