New smart speaker expected as Apple kicks off conference

As well as announcing the impressive new iMac Pro, Apple used WWDC to introduce the Apple HomePod - a speaker and home assistant that will compete with the Google Home and Amazon Alexa. The speakers have powered by Apple's Siri Digital Assistant.

Apple entered the growing field of voice-controlled speakers for the home on Monday (June 5), taking on early leaders Amazon.com and Google. It features six microphones so users should be able to communicate with the almost 7-inch tall speaker from across the room, whether it's asking Siri who plays a song, sending a message to a pal, or commanding different aspects of a smart home setup.

It's also a helpful home assistant, and can be integrated with Apple's HomeKit. That company offers a similar wireless multi-speaker system for listening to music throughout the home, similar to HomePod's ability to chain together multiple speakers.

The trend-setting company also is putting new twists on existing products as it delves deeper into virtual reality and a form of artificial intelligence called machine learning.

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

Second, when Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of marketing, came back to the stage to present the device, he spent much of his time highlighting how well it plays music-explaining the minutia of its built-in tweeters and woofer. "Third, it needs to be really fun to use and have a built in musicologist". But to what extent Apple can surpass market leaders Amazon and Google? With Siri, the HomePod doubles up as a home speaker. Shipments of intelligent home speakers surged almost 600 per cent year-over-year to 4.2 million units in the fourth quarter, with Amazon taking about 88 per cent share and Google 10 percent, according to consultant Strategy Analytics.

In addition, the usual previews of the forthcoming Mac, iPhone, Apple Watch and Apple TV OS will also form part of the brand's presentations, as has been convention. "Hey Siri", brings the speaker to life and then you can ask it to play music.

As another piece of news to be released later this year, Apple is expected to share more details about tvOS, which we are also excited about.

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