Apple to showcase new features for its gadgets

Michelle Obama

Apple to showcase new features for its gadgets

They will be able to check sports scores, set alarms, timers and reminders, and control compatible smart devices - all features that were previously debuted by Amazon and Google.

"We are so pleased to welcome Amazon to Apple TV", Cook said at the start of his keynote address opening Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which moved this year to the San Jose Convention Center. And then there's a new generation of smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, but those don't really sound good.

Unvieled at this week's WWDC17 conference, the new device uses personal digital-assistant Siri and core Apple services like Apple Music.

"I think it's a very Apple-esque product in that it seeks to stake out the high end of a market with its technology, price and positioning", said analyst Paul Erickson from IHS Markit.

The speaker will sell for about $350 in December in the US, United Kingdom and Australia.

At $349, HomePod is significantly more expensive than the $199 Amazon Echo and the $179 Google Home. The HomePod is in a league of its own when the device's sound quality is compared to the one offered on Amazon's Alexa-powered smart speaker.

Pricing in Australia and the United Kingdom will be announced later this year. Although Apple Watch has emerged as the leader among smartwatches, it hasn't become a smash hit like the iPhone. During Jobs' last decade, Apple introduced the iPod, iPhone and iPad - all huge commercial successes that both reshaped daily life and swamped previous digital music players, smartphones and tablets.

Apple's entry into the market could change this. But for home use, Amazon's Alexa has been working for longest - so it's learned the most about what we need and already has a lot of third-party partners on-board. That's especially important because people are starting to access information, entertainment and search in a more "pervasive" way that's less dependent on smartphones, he said.

Siri, which has been included in Apple devices since 2014, was able to answer only 22% of questions and 62% of them correctly. Apple's more than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.

Apple had plenty of other announcements.

Today at WWDC, we finally got a look at Apple's rumored smart home speaker, which has home-assistant features buried beneath a music-first sales pitch.

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