The Latest: Apple's HomePod speaker coming this year
The Latest on Apple's annual conference in California (all times local):
Don't count Apple out even if it's late to the game in unveiling services based on artificial intelligence, one analyst says.
CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber says time will tell how well Apple's smarter Siri digital assistant will compete with Google's Assistant and Amazon's Alexa. But he says Apple has an advantage given that it makes software and gadgets designed to work well together.
On Monday, Apple previewed a Siri watch face on Apple Watch to offer reminders and other tasks people might be looking for. On the phone, Apple wants its digital assistant to be more helpful in navigating your digital life. If someone texts you about owing money, for instance, it will ask if you want to pay from your Apple Pay account.
Apple also unveiled HomePod, a Siri-powered speaker coming in December.
Apple has a history of releasing influential products that weren't themselves firsts. The iPod wasn't the first digital music player, yet it changed how the masses listen to music.
Apple is transplanting its digital assistant Siri into an internet-connected speaker that will become the company's first new product in more than two years.
The HomePod speaker unveiled at a conference for software programmers Monday is similar to devices that rivals Amazon and Google have already been selling, though Apple says it's giving more emphasis to sound quality, not just smarts. It's no surprise, but there's integration with the Apple Music online subscription.
Besides playing music, HomePod will help people to manage their lives and homes. Siri will be the voice assistant responding to requests for information and other help around the house.
It's Apple's first new device since the company released the Apple Watch in April 2015. The speaker will sell for about $350 in December in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. Amazon sells the main version of the Echo for $180 and Google sells its Home speaker for $130.
The Echo, released in 2015, and Google Home, released last year, have helped plant the seeds for a promising market. The research firm eMarketer says than 35 million people in the U.S. are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than doubling from last year.
Apple is introducing a mid-sized iPad Pro in an attempt to revive interest in its once hot-selling line of tablets.
The new 10.5-inch model offers room for a full-size keyboard, something the 9.7 inch model couldn't. Yet it isn't as bulky as the 12.9-inch model.
Such a model had been expected in March, but Apple instead refreshed its non-Pro models.
With consumers less interested in buying new tablets, Apple has increased its focus on designing tablets for professionals to do much of the same work that they usually perform on a laptop computer. It's also what Microsoft is targeting with its Surface Pro.
The new iPad Pro also comes with a better camera—the same one found in the iPhone 7—along with more storage, a better display and faster refreshing of moving images. The new model starts at $649 and will start shipping next week.
Apple also previewed software updates for the iPad at its annual conference for software programmers on Monday.
Apple is trying to make augmented reality a reality with new tools for iPhones and iPads.
Augmented reality is the blending of the physical and virtual worlds.
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.
Apple is making software tools available for outside app writers to design apps with augmented reality. He says the tools will make hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads capable of the technology.
Microsoft, Facebook and Google also have been dabbling with augmented reality, though the developments are still in the early stages.
Apple is also offering tools for app makers to embed artificial intelligence capabilities.
This will be part of the iOS 11 software update for iPhones and iPads. It's expected in September.
Siri will be paying more attention to what you do on your iPhone.
Apple wants its digital assistant to be more helpful in navigating your digital life. It'll learn your habits based on what articles you might be reading, for instance. Or if someone texts you about owing money, it will ask if you want to pay from your Apple Pay account.
Google already tries to be proactive with its Assistant on Android phones and Google Home speaker. Apple is poised to announce its own speaker at its annual conference for software programmers Monday.
Apple didn't discuss the privacy implications, though typically, the machine processing takes place on the device itself, rather than over the internet. That's a contrast to Google's approach. Apple's approach protects privacy, but might make the service less useful when switching devices.
The Siri updates are expected in September with iOS 11, the next version of Apple's mobile software.
Siri is getting a new voice on the iPhone,
Make that new voices, as the male version of Siri is getting a refresh, too.
It comes as Apple is poised to unveil a Siri-powered internet-connected speaker to rival Amazon's Echo and Google Home.
Other features coming to iPhones and iPads include messages syncing in the cloud. Only the most recent messages will be kept on the device to save storage.
For photos, Apple is turning to a "high efficiency" format to replace JPEGs. 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.
Apple is also bringing the ability to pay back a friend or other individual through its payment service, Apple Pay. Before, transactions had been limited to products and services from businesses and institutions.
The free software update for mobile devices, iOS 11, is expected in September when Apple typically releases new iPhones.
Apple's is unveiling new features at its annual conference for software programmers on Monday.
Virtual reality is coming to Apple's Mac computers.
New iMacs are getting brighter displays and graphics capabilities. Apple says that makes the Mac a great platform for developing virtual-reality experiences.
Apple is late on VR. Samsung and Google already have VR systems centered on their smartphones. Apple executives demonstrated the use of Macs to produce VR experiences, though they didn't immediately talk about making a headset to view them.
VR has often been described as the next big thing, though so far, the interest appears more among content developers and hardware makers than with everyday users.
The new iMacs start at about $1,300. Apple also updated its MacBook laptops with faster processors. These new Macs start shipping Monday.
Apple also unveiled the high-end iMac Pro for power users at its annual conference for software programmers Monday. It will come in December starting at about $5,000.
The announcements follow complaints that Apple has let its Mac computers languish in favor of its better-selling products, namely the iPhone.
Apple says its Safari browser will try to guard your privacy by identifying and blocking data files that track you as you move from website to website.
It's turning to machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence, to make that happen. That's a new focus for Apple as it competes with Google and Amazon.
Later Monday, it's expected to announce an internet-connected smart speaker to compete with Amazon's Echo and Google's Home.
Other features coming to the Mac include the ability to stop video from automatically playing on websites when using Safari. The Mac will also get improved photo management, including new editing tools and better face recognition to help you search your photo library.
The next Mac version will be called High Sierra, suggesting that it's a refinement of the current version, Sierra. Apple typically makes major updates to its Mac software every other year. It is coming out this fall and will be a free update.
Apple's is unveiling new features at its annual conference for software programmers on Monday.
Apple is updating its smartwatch to give it more "smarts" using the Siri digital assistant.
With a new watch face, Apple Watch promises to learn about your routines to figure out what information to display on the watch face. That could include a reminder to make a call or a flight reservation.
This comes as Google and Amazon have made headways in assisting users based on knowledge of past routines.
Another watch face will feature Woody, Jessie and Buzz from "Toy Story," joining Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Apple is also bringing improvements to playing music and recording fitness activities.
The new features will come in a software update expected in a few months.
IDC estimates that Apple shipped about 3.6 million watches during the first three months of the year. By comparison, Apple shipped 51 million iPhones and 9 million iPads during the same stretch.
Apple says Amazon will be making an app for its video service for the Apple TV device this year, filling one of the major gaps on Apple's streaming TV device.
Amazon is already available on rival devices such as Roku and, of course, Amazon's Fire TV.
CEO Tim Cook kicked off Apple's annual conference for software programmers on Monday. It's the first time in 15 years that Apple has held its conference in San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley. The event has been in San Francisco in recent years.
The event began with an Apple video portraying what life might be like without an app store. Not surprisingly, it depicts a world of chaos.
If Apple unveils a rival to internet-connected speakers from Amazon and Google, it wouldn't be the first time that Apple hops on the bandwagon of a technology product popularized by a competitor.
For instance, Apple's large-size iPhones are now popular, after Apple initially resisted them despite strong sales for larger-display phones made by Samsung and other rivals.
Apple is expected to announce plans for a speaker on Monday. It would be Apple's first new product since its smartwatch in 2015.
The lack of a breakthrough device has periodically raised concerns that Apple has become too dependent on the iPhone. Although Apple Watch has emerged as the leader among smartwatches, it hasn't become a smash hit like the iPhone.
Apple Watch has emerged as the market leader for smartwatches—but it has competition after including basic fitness trackers in the count.
There, Apple shares the lead with Chinese company Xiaomi, whose fitness tracking wristbands are mostly sold in China.
The research firm IDC says Apple and Xiaomi each has a worldwide market share of nearly 15 percent in the first quarter. Fitbit, once the leader of wearable devices, is third at about 12 percent.
Samsung doubled the number of wearable devices shipped compared with the previous year, but it's still at fourth overall, at less than 5 percent, just ahead of Garmin.
Apple is expected to unveil new features for its Apple Watch as its Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off on Monday.
Apple's annual developers conference is the company's chance to preview upcoming features for iPhones, iPads, watches and Mac computers.
The conference starts Monday in San Jose, California. The idea is to get outside software programmers geared up to write apps for Apple products.
Leading up to it, Apple says those outside app developers have earned more than $70 billion since Apple's app store launched in 2008.
Some of the most popular apps, such as Facebook, Instagram and Sanpchat, don't cost anything. The most popular paid apps are usually games. This week, this included "Minecraft: Pocket" and a new version of "Goat Simulator," an oddball game that's exactly what its name sounds like.
Apple's also expected to unveil a voice-activated, internet-connected speaker to rival Amazon's Echo and Google Home.
Apple appears poised to unveil a voice-activated, internet-connected speaker that would create a new digital pipeline into people's homes.
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. If the speculation pans out, the speaker would be Apple's first new product since its smartwatch in 2015. It would mark an effort by Apple to catch up with Amazon and Google.
Apple's annual conference for app developers begins Monday in San Jose, California.
Although it was first smartphone maker to come out with a digital assistant when Siri debuted in 2011, it hasn't had a stand-alone assistant. For Apple, having one would further broaden the role that its software, services and gadgets play in people's lives.
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