Siri sounds like a dude! Apple unveils new voice assistant voice

Gwen Vasquez
June 10, 2017

Compared to's (NASDAQ:AMZN) immensely popular Echo, which starts at $180, that's a pretty hefty premium that Apple is now tasked with justifying to consumers.

HomePod will go on sale in December in Australia, the U.S. and the United Kingdom and will cost American consumers $349 (A$465). Apple took the covers off a home speaker called HomePod with Siri as a voice-activated butler.

Some industry insiders, however, note Apple will be under more pressure to improve the computing smarts of its Siri software in the face of offerings from rivals Google and Amazon.

Finally, when talking about its ability to use Siri, he explained most in depth how the assistant can help with a range of music-related HomePod commands like "play something more mellow" or questions like "who's playing drums on this track?" You can activate it with a wake word - "Hey Siri" - and ask an artificially intelligent assistant, Siri, to play music. The product will launch in the US, UK and Australia in December 2017 and in other markets in 2018.

Since the launch of Amazon's Echo a year ago and Google Home in March, both of which have been popular with consumers, Apple had been widely expected to enter the market.

The company has also included two speakers, which use both direct and reflected audio to deliver audio wirelessly for an even more immersive experience.

Watch this space for latest news on Apple products.

The lack of a breakthrough device has periodically raised concerns that Apple has become too dependent on the iPhone and supported the theory that the company lost its knack for innovation when its co-founder Steve Jobs died of cancer in 2011.

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iOS 11 is the biggest software release ever for iPad, with powerful multitasking features, the Files app and more ways to use Apple Pencil.

Speaking at the conference earlier today, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing Philip Schiller said that the device will "reinvent home music. just like the iPod reinvented music in our pockets". 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. The speaker only sends information to Apple when it detects the " Hey Siri" trigger phrase, much like Amazon and Google only transfer audio snippets when their respective wake words have been said. New iMacs and MacBook laptops start shipping Monday.

In announcing the HomePod, Apple CEO Tim Cook said there were many companies making products for enjoying music in the home but "none have nailed it yet".

It will come with an upgraded version of the Safari web browser which will prevent videos from autoplaying and prevent users from being tracked across sites. It will not actually block ads, though. "I think when people listen to it, they're going to be shocked over the quality of the sound".

Apple's strict adherence to profit goals can potentially hinder experiments and runs counter to efforts to pitch itself as more than a hardware company, even though Apple generates 88 percent of its annual sales from iPhones, computers, iPads, headphones and other hardware. Apple also laid some groundwork for augmented reality, the projection of digital features onto real-world surroundings, by giving app developers tools for incorporating AR into their products.

Consumer spending on smart home related products and services will reach almost $90 billion this year and reach $155 billion by 2022, according to consultant Strategy Analytics.

But Apple also used the event to tout a larger 10.5-inch iPad Pro, a cheaper MacBook Pro option and the first iMac Pro update in four years.

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