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Apple will later this year release a "HomePod" music-centric smart home speaker, challenging a market now dominated by Amazon and Google in its latest move to weave deeper into people's lives.

The HomePod will be available in December in the USA, United Kingdom and Australia in white and space gray.

Apple said that makes the Mac a great platform for developing virtual-reality "experiences", although the company didn't announce any consumer VR products.

Though some pundits might say Apple is late to the game in terms of home audio, the company debuted with much fanfare its new HomePod speaker featuring Siri voice control.

The speaker, which will cost US$349 and be available in December, is the third new product category Apple has entered since Chief Executive Tim Cook assumed leadership of thefirm in 2011, the Journal noted.

As a smart speaker, it has full ability using Siri to control any HomeKit-connected device to control lights, scenes, temperature and more.

Well, adding further, the company has announced that this new HomePod is basically created to work with Apple Music, which means that you will have to require a subscription to music streaming service.

Where Apple may have the advantage is if it can, in fact, provide superior sound quality, given its stated focus on music.

"Apple reinvented portable music with iPod, and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes", said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice-president of worldwide marketing. It can tender news; read messages; set reminders, alarms, and timers; update information related to weather, traffic nearby and even translate one language to another. HomePod comes three years after Amazon launched the Echo and six months after Google launched its Home. Amazon has heavily dominated the field with its home speaker called Echo, which uses the digital assistant Alexa.

The company harps a lot that in recent years has made a lot of new upgrades to its music library and the way it is curated for iOS devices. Among them is a 10-year-old who had invented five apps and showed them to Apple's CEO.

High Sierra will be released later this year as a free update, according to Federighi.

New iMacs unveiled Monday at Apple's annual conference for software programmers are getting better displays and graphics capabilities. Powered by an A8 chip, the device also boasts echo cancellation technology and real time acoustic and bass modelling. 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.

All iPhones and iPads running iOS 11 will also get the refreshed Photos app, with machine learning to identify events, memories and more.


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