Updates to Apple's smart assistant Siri 'could be vital to HomePod's success'

To see how well Siri stacks up on Apple's home speaker, we'll have to wait until later this year. The new Apple HomePod seems to be a good and useful device for the people who are Apple fans and want to have a good intelligent sound device at home.

That might sound insane coming from a company that hasn't, until the launch of this product, given so much as a thought to the home speaker market, but the early returns on the HomePod's performance show that Apple (again, like they always do) isn't diving blindly into this market. Not entirely surprising, given the fact that Apple is now led by an expert operations manager, Tim Cook, and not a visionary like Steve Jobs.

The speaker will sell for about $350 in December in the USA, United Kingdom and Australia. You buy 3 Google Home's or 2 Amazon Echo's for the price of one Apple HomePod! Apple approaches voice interaction problems programmatically - Siri needs to be able to do X, so here are the ways you can tell it to do X. Google (and to a lesser extent Amazon) created a platform that actually understands context with machine learning.

"Apple's base should like it, because they are committed to the ecosystem", Enderle said of HomePod. The smart speaker works in conjunction with Apple Music so users virtually have access to 40 million songs inside their home.

The speaker will sell for about $350 in December in the USA, United Kingdom and Australia. Then in October 2016, Google unveiled its smart speaker, the Home.

The Echo, released in 2015, and Google Home, released past year, were the first entrants in a promising market. With HomeKit and a new rev of the Home app for iOS, I think Apple may finally have what it needs with the HomeKit-HomePod combo to deliver on the early promise that had so many excited about HomeKit. Although that product came out after other smartwatches hit the market, it quickly outshone competitors, according to industry research firms.

"It's the biggest brain inside a speaker", Apple marketing head Phil Schiller proclaimed.

HomePod will take on lower priced Amazon Echo and Google Home, which have had momentum in the arena of voice-controlled speakers capable of controlling smart appliances, fetching content from the internet and more.

The move is the first into a completely new area by Apple for more than two years as the world's most valuable technology company looks to make up for a dip in iPhone sales and new ways to get customers to use more of its money-making apps and services.

Where does this position Apple relative to Amazon and the Echo? New iMacs released Monday are getting better displays and graphics capabilities.

Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi said the next Mac operating system will be named "High Sierra" in tribute to the California mountain range. It will allow users to automatically block auto-play videos by detecting videos that shouldn't be playing when you open a webpage to read an article, for example. It will not block the ads themselves, though.

At WWDC, Apple also showed off a new iPad and a new computer called iMac Pro. And Apple assures of more enhancements in the smart speaker soon.

New features coming to iPhones and iPads, meanwhile, include marginal improvements such as syncing messages to Apple servers in the cloud, saving storage space on phones and tablets.

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