New Smart Speaker Expected as Apple Kicks Off Worldwide Developers Conference

Apple HomePod

Apple HomePod

Unlike those other smart speakers, Apple is positioning the HomePod primarily as a way to listen to and discover new songs and artists.

Apple says its Safari browser will try to guard your privacy by identifying and blocking data files that track you as you move from website to website. Apple is emphasizing the HomePod's audio capabilities as a key factor separating it from more affordable rivals like the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

HomePod capped a keynote presentation that included updates to Apple's iPad and Mac laptop lines, and upgraded operating software enabling augmented reality for iPhones and iPads.

Against other smart home assistants, the HomePod's targets are different from ostensible competitors like the Amazon Echo. Apple typically makes major updates to its Mac software every other year.

But Apple is billing it as something a little more: a hybrid of a smart speaker, like the Echo, and a wireless home speaker system, like the $300 Sonos Play:3.

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In many ways, HomePod will be able to do the same things as an Amazon Echo or Google Home, including playing back podcasts, setting reminders, checking sports scores, translation and controlling internet-connected devices.

Apple will roll out the free update sometime this fall.

The money can be stored on a virtual card and used with Apple Pay, which Apple expects will be accepted in 50 percent of USA retailers by the end of the year.

The browser's new "intelligent tracking prevention", meanwhile, will use machine learning to identify and block digital-ad trackers in order to keep advertisers from following and profiling users.

CEO Tim Cook said Amazon Prime Video, which includes original series like "Man in the High Castle", would be added to Apple TV.

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The event began with an Apple video portraying what life might be like without an app store.

A set of iOS 11 features including enabling smartphone cameras to read QR codes are aimed at the China market, where Apple would like to bolster iPhone sales. It would be Apple's first new product since its smartwatch in 2015. Only after gabbing on and on about its sound quality and elegance did he throw up a final slide of the limited range of non-music voice assistance HomePod can provide. With a seven-tweeter array and a four-inch subwoofer, the HomePod should deliver substantially better sound than Amazon or Google's equivalents.

But really, this is Apple's admission that it needed to kick the voice command can down the road a bit and strengthen Siri but it goes gunning for Google and Amazon.

Following in Google's footsteps, Siri will also be able to translate and speak phrases from six languages, with more coming later, Apple said. But on a screenless speaker like HomePod, if Siri sucks, the whole gadget does too.

Angela Merkel says Europeans can't rely on the United States anymore
I've experienced that in the last few days. "Precisely because they are so important, it's right to name differences honestly". Trump also lectured his counterparts Thursday on their failure to meet North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spending guidelines.

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