Apple introduces smart compact music speaker

Amazon Echo, Google Home Devices Raise Privacy Questions

Not surprisingly, the HomePod is also Siri-enabled, and will let you ask of it a wide range of things, including news, music, weather, sports, and more.

During the first half the keynote, Apple hinted about the next versions of its operating systems for the Mac and Apple Watch - both of which will be available for download in the fall, alongside new iMacs, MacBooks and a new high-end product called the iMac Pro.

Siri understands your voice, but also understands context and your interests to predict what you're going to want next.

The HomePod speaker stands just under seven inches (18 cm) tall and is covered in fabric mesh that will come in white or gray.

The HomePod will use its internal microphones to pick up voice commands and uses the same processor chip as the iPhone to pump out "spatially aware" sound, Apple said. You may get your hands on this for $349 which roughly translates to Rs 22,500.

Apple was also expected to unveil improvements to Siri, its digital voice assistant that competes with Amazon.com Inc's Alexa AMZN.O and the Google Assistant helper. Whenever Siri is engaged, the HomePod will display the Siri waveform on the top of the speaker, the same location where the HomePod's touch-sensitive controls are. Safari, Apple's web browser, will allow users to automatically block auto-play videos by detecting videos that shouldn't be playing when you open a webpage to read an article, for example.

Schiller advertised the company's "breakthrough home speaker" as distortion-free and spatially aware.

Compared to the audio quality of Apple's new HomePod, the Amazon Echo is a significant mismatch. Google followed with its Home speaker, featuring its plain-named Assistant, last year.

That assessment won't be put to the test until at least December, when Apple's HomePod is released. It's also spatially aware, adjusting its audio performance based on the room it's in.

Security and privacy are fundamental to the design of Apple hardware, software and services.

Apple said the HomePod will also be compatible with the company's HomeKit system for controlling smart home devices, like lighting, heating, air conditioning and home security systems. 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.

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