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Apple unveils $349 HomePod to compete with Amazon Echo, Google Home


The trend-setting company also is putting new twists on existing products as it delves deeper into virtual reality and a form of artificial intelligence called machine learning. Schiller said devices like the Amazon Echo have poor sound quality, and wifi speakers like Sonos don't have interactive voice assistants.

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. It can wirelessly access over 40 million songs from the service. It can also tackle advanced searches within the music library by responding to queries like "Hey Siri, who's the drummer in this?"

"Apple is smart to frame the HomePod as a music-centric and audio-centric device rather than just another smart speaker or another home for Siri", said Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson. It will ship in December in the US, UK, and Australia. And it would mark an effort by Apple to catch up with Amazon and Google. Google delivered an Android Auto feature for smartphones past year.

Apple has given Siri new male and female voices, described as more natural and expressive, and added abilities such as translating English phrases into Chinese, French, German, Italian or Spanish.

The lack of a breakthrough device has periodically raised concerns that Apple has become too dependent on the iPhone and supported the theory that the company lost its knack for innovation when its co-founder Steve Jobs died of cancer in 2011. 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 says the feature is entirely private and only stays on a user's device. Apple is poised to announce its own speaker at its annual conference for software programmers Monday.

Will cheer for Indian team in all matches, says Vijay Mallya
While a source close to CricketNext confirmed Mallya's presence at the event, the Indian Team is also learnt to have attended it. Mallya owes about Rs 9000 crore to various Indian banks and has been out of Indian jurisdiction since March 2016.

"New indoor maps of areas like malls and airports indicated that Apple might be laying groundwork to display information over images of those places in the future". Apple executives demonstrated the use of Macs to produce VR experiences, though they didn't immediately talk about making a headset to view them.

Safari, Apple's web browser, is getting new features aimed at online annoyances. It will not block the ads themselves, though. The company skipped its normal spring product launch event this year, so it would make sense for the company to announce an update to iPad Pro, a competitor to the Microsoft Surface, as well as its laptops.

Apple doesn't have to necessarily be ahead of the curve - its most successful products have come from polishing and repackaging good ideas.

The company rolled out new tools for developers to create augmented reality applications for iPhones and iPads.

Taking direct aim at services like PayPal, Apple debuted peer-to-peer payments for Apple Pay in which users will be able to send money through the Messages app on iPhones.

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