HomePod, powered Apple's Siri digital assistant, will be priced at US$349 (RM1,486) when it begins shipping in December in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom, the tech giant announced at its annual developers conference. Created to pair with an iPhone and play music via a user's Apple Music subscription, the device will also field queries and control other smart home devices thanks to Siri integration. The HomePod is powered by Apple's A8 chip and will be available from December in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the USA, which will be getting the initial batch of speakers in White and Space Grey at $349 (roughly Rs. 22,500). After almost a year of speculation, Apple debuted its own connected home speaker-and Amazon Echo competitor-the HomePod. Both speakers can respond to voice requests for the news, weather and tasks such as turning on the lights.
Apple is expected to unveil new features for its Apple Watch as its Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off on Monday.
Apple boss Tim Cook said the event was "the best and biggest WWDC ever".
The speaker, while expected by some industry watchers, marked Apple's first new product announcement since the Apple Watch in September 2014.
It starts shipping later this year in the US, United Kingdom and Australia.
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"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. New iMacs released Monday are getting better displays and graphics capabilities. The manufacturing duties have apparently been handled by the same company that makes the iPhone 7's AirPods, with the devices being tested by Apple employees in secret. In one demo, Apple executive Craig Federighi pointed a camera at a table on stage and added a virtual coffee cup and a lamp on the real table. These devices will only keep the most recent messages in local storage. Although the format is not exclusive to Apple, it's not yet clear how well the photos will work with non-Apple software and devices, which mostly use JPEG. So far, the service has limited payments to purchases of products and services from companies and other organizations.
The company was expected to introduce iOS 11, the next version of the software that powers the iPhone and iPad. Called High Sierra, it recognizes more faces automatically, which should make it easier to organize photos, and will offer more photo editing tools. It will not actually block ads, though.
Apple is introducing a 10.5-inch iPad Pro in an attempt to revive interest in its once hot-selling line of tablets. More powerful 21.5-inch models with 4K screens start at $1899, and 27-inch models with 5K screens start at $2699.
The company is also launching new models of both the iPad and the Mac computer. Although Apple Watch has emerged as the leader in its technological niche, it hasn't become a smash hit like the iPhone or the iPad - at least until tablet sales started declining.
And Apple Watch is bringing Siri front and center. A new Siri watchface predicts what you'll want to see when you look at your wrist, while improvements to the device's fitness features will let you track new types of high-intensity workouts.
Anonymous sources told Bloomberg that the device will be deeply tied into Apple's ecosystem, presumably via integrations with Apple's other hardware devices, as well as apps and services like Apple Music, Apple HomeKit and Apple TV.