Siri, speakers and software: Highlights from the Apple show

Janie Parker
June 10, 2017

Apple TV got a look in at WWDC with Cook saying Amazon Prime Video would be available on Apple TV, iPhones and iPads from later this year.

Still, the Apple Watch hasn't been a smash hit, fueling worries that the company's ability to transfix customers had waned after the 2011 death of co-founder Steve Jobs. The company clearly wants to take on Google Home and Amazon Echo, and it's aiming to be the best iPhone and iPad connected speaker around.

Apple was also expected to unveil improvements to Siri, its digital voice assistant that competes with Inc's Alexa and the Google Assistant helper.

Apple says it's giving more emphasis to sound quality, not just smarts.

Tapping Apple's Siri digital assistant, such a speaker is expected to serve as a butler as well as an outlet for listening to music.

One of the most important announcements is the iOS11 which brings new experiences and hundreds of features to iPhone and iPad this fall. The company "can't afford to yield valuable real-estate in the heart of people's homes to Amazon, Google and others", said Geoff Blaber, research analyst at CCS Insight.

HomePod includes Siri voice integration and will function as a "home assistant", according to Schiller. (Many reviewers have suggested that the current incarnation of Apple's assistant already trails competitors in key respects.) "This is the start of the AI wars", he said. Apple has Siri baked into it, which explains why everyone was calling it the Apple Siri Speaker ahead of today's launch event.

Apple New, Faster iMacs & MacBooks Plus macOS High Sierra
Clearly, iMac Pro is the most powerful Mac you can own - until at least Apple decides to update the display-less Mac Pro in 2018. The entry-level 12-inch MacBook starts with a 1.2GHz Intel Core m3 processor and 8GB of memory , with a 256GB solid state drive.

Mac models were also boosted to work with virtual reality gear, a move by Apple into technology that Facebook has embraced with its Oculus unit.

Jackson wasn't in San Jose (he's now producing WingNut's latest feature film, Mortal Engines in Wellington) but he said, in a statement, that the new technology had endless creative potential.

The money can be stored on a virtual card and used with Apple Pay, which Apple expects will be accepted in 50 percent of USA retailers by the end of the year. It will not actually block ads, though.

A new Siri interface on the Apple Watch will also blend users' calendar information with other useful details, like airline tickets they may have booked, the company said. It's part of Apple's effort to entice professionals with tablets that can handle many tasks previously reserved for laptops.

The new MacBook now features up to 50 percent faster SSDs and supports up to twice the memory, the 15-inch MacBook Pro now comes standard with more powerful discrete graphics, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro adds a new US$1,299 configuration.

Also, HomePod is also compatible with Apple services like iMessage and HomeKit.

The free software, iOS 11, is expected in September, when Apple typically releases new iPhones. Later, BuzzFeed News had reported that both brands have finalised a deal.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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