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Apple also said it was making its virtual assistant Siri more aware of context, enabling it to recommend and remind users more accurately based on how they use their device.

Apple's also expected to unveil a voice-activated, internet-connected speaker to rival Amazon's Echo and Google Home. Amazon sells the main version of the Echo for $180; Google's Home speaker goes for $130.

It's not just about sonic power, but sonic smarts too: the Apple HomePod is spatially aware, and can adjust its sound to suit its placement in any room.

As CNet points out, this also means that Apple's HomeKit software now has its own standalone device, meaning that it could attract Android users and others who previously did not want to use Siri through an iPhone or iPad.

The new smart digital speaker won't hit shelves until December, just in time for Christmas wish lists. Let's run through its features and see. "Internally, the HomePod features an array of 7 beam-forming tweeters at the bottom, coupled with an Apple-Designed 4" upward-facing woofer. If the speculation pans out, the speaker would be Apple's first new product since its smartwatch in 2015. Apple says HomePod is "spatially aware" and can respond as such. Whether you put the speaker in an out of the way corner or in the middle of the kitchen table, it will deliver perfectly balanced sound.

"You can be across the room and speak to the HomePod even while loud music is playing", Apple's Phil Schiller said during the introduction presentation. It can play music from Apple Music, tell you the news, do unit conversions, send messages, schedule reminders, set timers, translate, check stocks, answer trivia questions, and tell you what the traffic is like. Ask her to play something new or play more like what you're listening to, and Siri will happily oblige. A smart speaker that builds on what Apple TV has offered would give users more flexibility to decide where to place their home hub. Speaking to CNET, Amazon's senior vice president of devices David Limp stated that the company is open to the idea that maybe other software such as Siri or Google Assistant could be installed in the Echo.

Still, Siri's most appealing feature may be privacy protection.


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