Apple announces HomePod to compete with Google Home, Amazon Echo

With Apple doing small things to make AI more visible and powerful across more of its devices, the company appears to be acknowledging people's continued use of impressively smart apps like Google Translate and the Google App.

Apple Inc.is touting this squat 7-inch cylinder as a way to fill a room with sonic bliss. 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". But is the £270 device good enough to topple the Amazon Echo and Google Home?

The new Amazon Prime Video app will debut later this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said at WDDC. You won't get any notifications while in the auto, and if you look at your phone, you'll see an alert reminding you that you won't receive notifications while on the road. Within the a year ago, virtual assistants have expanded significantly into the home market. Although Apple is late to the game, CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber says the new tools come "as the technology hits an inflection point". It can give you the news and weather updates as well as controlling devices attached to your Apple HomeKit, such as Philips Hue light bulbs and smart thermostats, with simple commands, such as "Turn off the lights in the bedroom", or "Turn the heat up a few degrees".

Apple Inc on Monday introduced the HomePod, a voice-controlled speaker that can make music suggestions and adjust home temperatures, taking aim at Amazon.com Inc's Alexa feature and Echo devices.

Apple also announced a new software kit for developers called ARKit, which will enabled app developers to build augmented reality apps on Apple's platforms more easily. Google already tries to be proactive with its Assistant on Android phones and Google Home speaker. By saying, "Hey Siri, I like this song", HomePod and Apple Music become the ideal musicologist, learning preferences from hundreds of genres and moods, across tens of thousands of playlists, and these music tastes are shared across devices.

For photos, Apple is turning to a "high efficiency" format to replace the widely used JPEG standard.

Never count Apple and its many millions of fans out.

As with products like the Amazon Echo, the HomePod's primary interface method is through voice.

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