New smart speaker expected as Apple kicks off conference

The announcement made at the 2017 Apple, Worldwide Developer Conference, saw the Company roll out HomePod, a 7-inch tall speaker that has a retail price of $349, it will be available in Australia in December 2017. These giants are battling over still-emerging fields that are expected to turn into technological gold mines, much the way personal computers and smartphones became moneymaking machines in previous decades.

Apple unveiled HomePod, a new 7-inch tall speaker for playing music, checking the news and controlling other connected devices in the home. The speaker is similar to cheaper devices from Amazon and Google. Siri will be voice activated to respond to requests for information and other help around the house. 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.

It is created to work with the Apple Music subscription service and can produce rich sound while tapping into the artificial intelligence power of Siri.

An internet-connected speaker called HomePod is coming in December for about $350. There's likely to be comparisons to the Amazon Echo and Google Home, but Homepod is different.

More than 35 million people in the USA are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than doubling from last year, according the research firm eMarketer.

It is Apple's first new device since the company launched its smartwatch in April 2015. Although Apple is late to the game, CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber says the new tools come "as the technology hits an inflection point". "Apple is smart to position it as music centric rather than yet another smart speaker or just a home for a digital assistant", Jan Dawson, an analyst at Jackdaw Research, told CNET.

Schiller said the HomePod will be deeply integrated with the Apple Music streaming music service.

Business Chat sounds a lot like Apple's attempt to move into a space where social networks like Facebook and Twitter today dominate. Apple wowed developers with a new platform to make augmented reality apps, as well.

The latest version of Apple's Safari browser will be able to stop automatically playing videos as well as online trackers used for advertisers. It will not actually block ads, though.

The OS, which will power devices like the iPhone, iPad and the iPod for now, is in the Developer Beta Preview stage and will be available later this year as a free software update for iPhone 5s and later, all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation, iPad mini 2 and later and the iPod touch 6th generation. It's part of Apple's effort to entice professionals with tablets that can handle many tasks previously reserved for laptops.

Here's are five major features that the iOS 11 will bring with it.

Apple is taking on Venmo and Square Cash with peer-to-peer payments. It may be sound quality, according a report from Bloomberg News.

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