Apple unveils $349 HomePod to compete with Amazon Echo, Google Home

And not being first to market means Apple's HomePod faces stiff competition from Amazon Echo, Google Home, and later this year high-end Sonos speakers will come with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant, putting them head-to-head with Homepod, too. This is sound with smarts: HomePod can sense the size and shape of the room it's in and tune the music to be just right.

However, in a reference to current tensions over privacy and terrorism, Apple says that the HomePod won't record anything until the term "Hey Siri" is uttered.

"The new sound of home", Apple's HomePod is the tech giant's latest artificially intelligent hardware product.

Siri is used by more than 375 million devices each month. Siri itself has been given quite an upgrade (good news, because Siri sucked primate-privates), and is now equipped with machine learning skills, so be prepared to have the Homepod answer all sorts of questions like "Who's the drummer of this band?" or "Play me something more groovy". In the WWDC 2017 revelation yesterday, Apple announced that this AI device will be priced at $349 when it comes out later this year in December.

Voice assistants have already taken over homes with the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Microsoft's Cortana speakers. The firm views the performance focus as an indication that Apple lacks the proprietary services to match up well with in-home smart assistants from Amazon and Alphabet. Only time will tell, but a look at the impressive demos at the keynote event show that VR/AR is now definitely showing on Apple's radar.

Still, the Apple Watch hasn't been a smash hit, fueling worries that the company's ability to transfix customers had waned after the 2011 death of co-founder Steve Jobs.

Flynn agrees to provide some requested documents
Interviewed Tuesday morning on CNN , he said, "People in Europe are asking why this administration is trying to make Putin happy". But a new report emerged last week that Kushner discussed creating a "back channel" for communicating with Russian officials.

The U.K. government is relying in part on Apple to help it track down terrorism suspects amid a recent rash of attacks on the country. The pricing of Apple's device was shared at the conference in comparison to both smart home speakers as well as premium audio speakers. That's especially important because people are starting to access information, entertainment and search in a more "pervasive" way that's less dependent on smarthphones, he said. Apple said both are appearing at WWDC as "sneak peaks", and they weren't lying. New iMacs released Monday are getting better displays and graphics capabilities.

The conference is typically devoted to software updates and this year, Apple released a series of new features and updates for the iPhone, the iPad, Mac and the Apple Watch - including an augmented-reality kit for developers aimed at making the iPhone "the largest AR platform in the world". The new macOS is called High Sierra with newer, faster version of the Safari browser with new facial recognition features in Photos. 4. It will not actually block ads, though.

Apple has announced the much-awaited new iMac Pro. So far, the service has limited payments to purchases of products and services from companies and other organizations.

iOS 11 features a swag of iPad only features, including a new Files app, a new dock, and new drag-and-drop features to enable better multitasking and sharing between apps.

Ortutay reported from NY.

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