Apple said Siri, which also competes with the Google Assistant helper, will now be able to create appointments on an iPhone after an appointment is booked on a Mac, for example, marking the first time that privacy-conscious Apple has let the assistant work across devices.
HomePod wants to be the best of both worlds, without being that much more expensive than some of its key competitors: The Apple-made speaker will cost consumers $349, and ship in December in the USA, U.K., and Australia.
However, Apple (AAPL) stopped short of calling it a home assistant and thus a direct competitor to companies like Google Inc.
Apple needs to get SiriKit into the conversation and to make sure Google and Amazon don't lock down voice-assistant developers, which could definitely happen in the next six months. Apple was a little late tapping into the smart speaker market, even though they were one of the first in the voice-based AI space.
Apple said, "HomePod is smart enough to sense where in the room it's playing".
As part of the announcement at the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple touted upgrades for the Siri personal assistant in the fall update to the IOS mobile operating system.
Apple has given Siri new male and female voices, described as more natural and expressive, and added abilities such as translating English phrases into Chinese, French, German, Italian or Spanish. That could include a reminder to make a call or a flight reservation.
In its iOS security guide from March, Apple noted that Siri communications occur on servers over HTTPS, which encrypts data between an iPhone and another device.
Trusted Apple analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, has given a "more than fifty percent chance" of Apple unveiling a Siri speaker - and he was right! Another Safari feature will stop video from automatically playing on websites.
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 not actually block ads, though.
The 10.5-inch model will start at $649, with the bigger 12.9-inch model starting at $799.
Apple promises the Siri team has made some updates so that the AI works better for music requests. The new iPad starts at $649 and will start shipping next week.
The new iPad Pro also comes with a better camera - the same one found in the iPhone 7 - along with more storage, a better display and faster refreshing of moving images.
So why the rush with Apple HomePod?
Anyhow, Amazon Prime Video should be excellent news for those who own an Apple TV and are subscribed to Amazon Prime, since they'll finally have access to Amazon's stellar array of original content, in addition to the wide library of films and non-original TV shows available on the video streaming service.