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That is good, as its new home speaker offering will test that ability.

Well, first off, the device doesn't ship until December, giving the existing players six months heads-up, and it will retail for $349, which is eye-watering when compared to Amazon and Google offerings.

Staking out a position on Apple's oft-visited privacy high ground, Schiller offered reassurance that the HomePod doesn't record anything until the user addresses Siri. It wakes to "Hey, Siri" and will attempt to answer basic questions and control other devices in addition to playing tunes via Apple Music.

Going head-to-head with Google Home's speech recognition or Amazon Echo's voice command developer ecosystem could have been disastrous. Apple today finally took the wraps off of its standalone speaker, which it hopes will "reinvent home music". It needs to be plugged in to a physical wall socket and it's able to do a litany of tasks if you ask it - through Siri, of course. But the company relented, and Apple's larger phones have become hot commodities as more people have embraced having a bigger display to look at pictures and watch video on the devices.

At the event, a parade of executives unveiled updates to Apple's hardware, software and mobile applications, or apps, including iMac desktop computer, MacBook laptop machine, iPad, Apple Watch, iOS software operating system and App Store. The device will retail at $349, come in white and space grey and will be available in the United Kingdom in December. For starters, it houses an A8 chip under it that gives it sheer computing power.

While Amazon Echo and Google Home began stealing some market share from Sonos, Sonos prided itself on the excellent audio engineering that went into its speakers. It is aimed at automatically adjusting the audio using spatial awareness to sense its location in a room. Apple Music is deeply integrated with Siri and the HomePod, meaning users can find out a wealth of information using just their voice.

This state of affairs would have seemed impossible in late 2014, when the digital shopping company first introduced a home speaker with a voice-activated digital helper built in. It would mark an effort by Apple to catch up with Amazon and Google.

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.

In a nod to Amazon streaming fans, Apple is also bringing Amazon Prime to its Apple TV app. Siri only listens after you say the wake-word, presenters stressed, and your communications with it are encrypted and marked with a unique token, not your name or ID.