Apple's HomePod speaker will 'reinvent music'

Isaac Cain
June 7, 2017

Introduced at Apple's WWDC 2017 conference, the 178mm tall speaker is created to work with an Apple Music subscription, and will go head to head with Amazon's Alexa ecosystem and Google Home this December. The speaker is similar to cheaper devices from Amazon and Google. "We believe Siri will need meaningful improvement to avoid user frustration, though some of the music-centric commands demonstrated at the [WWDC] event show a step in the right direction", wrote BMO Capital Markets analyst Tim Long in a note Monday night. If the speculation pans out, the speaker would be Apple's first new product since its smartwatch in 2015.

"Yes, some songs may sound pleasing, but for true audiophiles who actually want to hear what the artist and producer intended, Apple's positioning of the HomePod as super high-quality speaker is going to be a very tough sell", O'Donnell said in a blog post.

Apple also may introduce its next Mac computer, along with the next operating system powering the machine.

Siri now also has a male American voice, and is said to be more expressive due to a new visual interface. That could include a reminder to make a call or a flight reservation.

Apple's new iMacs are getting brighter displays and graphics capabilities, which Apple says makes the Mac a great platform for developing virtual-reality experiences.

The latest version of Apple's Safari browser will be able to stop automatically playing videos as well as online trackers used for advertisers.

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The new iPad Pro will be available in three sizes, including a 10.5 inch model.

Apple also revealed that its Watch will now be able to connect wirelessly with other devices, specifically mentioning "glucose monitoring" as one possible application - a likely nod to speculation earlier this year that Apple had been developing a glucose monitoring device that would sync with the Apple Watch. These devices will only keep the most recent messages in local storage. Instead of JPEG for photos Apple is introducing a new format which will help in reducing file sizes.

Along with upgraded versions of iPad and Mac laptops, Apple provided look at an iMac Pro work station that had the computing built in behind the screen and was touted as the most powerful computer the company has ever made. The new model will start at $649 for 64GB of storage and cost up to $949 for 512GB.

Apple Maps will get lane guidance for highways and floor plans for indoor malls and airports. Now we all know the novelty of questioning these assistants has already worn off, whether it is OK Google, Hey Siri, or Hey Alexa.

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

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