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. It's also got something called ProMotion that's supposed to "increase the refresh rate and make motion smoother in video content", although if it's anything like the motion-smoothing technology on HDTVs that produces the dreaded "soap opera effect", that may or may not be a good thing.
This comes as Google and Amazon have made headways in assisting users based on knowledge of past routines. But so far, he argued, none of Apple's competitors have "reinvented" how consumers listen to music in their homes.
Amazon is already available on rival devices such as Roku and, of course, Amazon's Fire TV.
New features coming to iPhones and iPads include messages that sync to Apple servers in the cloud.
As Schiller introduced the device, he acknowledged that there are several other smart home speakers available on the market. That's OK: The company is hoping that HomePod's audio performance, its ability to suggest great music through Apple Music, and its Siri-powered voice interface will set HomePod apart from the competition. If the speculation pans out, the speaker would be Apple's first new product since its smartwatch in 2015. And while no voice A.I. service is a true standout yet, Apple is considered a laggard behind Amazon's and Google's A.I. assistant efforts.
Apple concluded its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on Monday with a sneak peek of an all-new product: The HomePod. The $349 price tag is a bit more expensive than comparably-sized internet-connected speakers, almost double the price of the Amazon Echo, and more than double the Google Home.
Siri is getting a new voice, and the Mac is getting a new name. The research firm eMarketer says than 35 million people in the US are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than double its estimate from last year.
U.S. tightening net around North Korea
The US and Japan has staged military training exercises in the Sea of Japan in the wake of recent threats from North Korea. Two of the United States' 10 nuclear aircraft carriers participated in a show of force in the Sea of Japan this week.
Apple says it's giving more emphasis to sound quality, not just smarts.
Amazon just unveiled a version of Echo with a camera, touch-screen display and video-calling capabilities. Google Home followed in October and Microsoft's assistant, Cortana, is also finding a home in home speakers. Pulling music from the Apple library, the speaker was presented as being able to recognize its placement and direct rich audio sound into the room.
Analysts said the smart home speaker market is ripe for Apple.
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. The new model starts at $649 and will start shipping next week.
According to a Bloomberg report, the company is finally ready to unveil its long-awaited AI hub at its annual developer conference next week, alongside the latest versions of its mobile and desktop operating systems.
In a nod to Amazon streaming fans, Apple is also bringing Amazon Prime to its Apple TV app.