New Siri speaker expected as Apple takes on Amazon's Alexa

Customers can also use the HomePod with Apple's HomeKit system, meaning they can control smart lightbulbs, door locks and thermostats with voice commands - just as they can with the Amazon Echo and Google Home. "HomePod packs powerful speaker technology, Siri intelligence and wireless access to the entire Apple Music library into a lovely 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".

The big question is whether or not people are going to be willing to spend this much for the HomePod, and what kind of support Apple will offer for third party apps, like Spotify.

Indeed, some of the Siri speaker rumors we've seen suggest that Apple is intent delivering incredible acoustics that rival smart speakers simply can't match. Outside companies' digital music services - presumably including Spotify and Pandora - don't appear to be accessible directly through the Apple speaker.

Available in December, it won't be cheap-$349-but Apple boasts that it will have better audio than its competition.

"I'm dispensing with the updates, other than to tell you, Apple's doing great", Apple CEO Tim Cook said in brief opening remarks as he took the stage at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Calif.

Commentary: Highly profitable Apple should try to become a little more like profit-challenged Amazon in the financial strategy behind its hardware business. Apple's approach protects privacy, but might make the service less useful when switching devices. Of Amazon's other Alexa-enabled devices, perhaps most anticipated is the Echo Show, its "hands-free camera and style assistant", with its 7-inch colour screen at $230 in the U.S. (no United Kingdom release date is announced yet). Apple's HomeKit is a bit behind other smart home platforms, but there is a small but growing list of compatible devices that work with it.

Apple's price bump is likely tolerable for many people who buy some of its devices like the Mac line, which doesn't have low-to-mid-tier prices to match many Windows computers.

Now, if you are looking for one device that does everything instead, then I suppose the HomePod might be your answer, and is heading your way later this year.

Apple has also designed this to go seamlessly with an iPhone. Google already tries to be proactive with its Assistant on Android phones and Google Home speaker.

New features coming to iPhones and iPads include messages that sync to Apple servers in the cloud. The updated version of Siri will be rolled out later this year with the release of iOS 11. After all, Alexa can be pretty ditzy, too, but when you literally don't have to lift a finger to get something done, it's a whole other level of delight. Regardless, the 10.5 inch iPad Pro retails for $649 and starts shipping next week.

It did so today at the WWDC (World Wide Developer's Conference), its annual in-house presentation of its newest innovations for software developers as reported by The New York Times. Users can also use HomePod as an at-home assistant, with Siri providing updates on a number of topics, from news to sports to podcasts. During Jobs' last decade, Apple introduced the iPod, iPhone and iPad - all huge commercial successes that both reshaped daily life and swamped previous digital music players, smartphones and tablets.

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