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Apple unveils 'HomePod' speaker, first new product in years

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Tim Cook CEO speaks during Apple's annual world wide developer conference in San Jose California

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an announcement of new products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif., Monday, June 5, 2017.

The HomePod will hit the market in December in the U.S., U.K., and Australia for $349.

HomePod seems expensive, but that's because Apple said it wanted to take the smart features from cheaper products like the Amazon Echo and combine them with the good audio from speakers like the Sonos. You can voice command the HomePod to perform various tasks, such as turning off lights, sending messages, providing weather updates, editing calendars, and other helpful things.

Apple clearly hopes to win the AI-assistant race on the design front and by pitching this as a speaker, capitalising on the fact that it already has millions of devices in homes across the world, as well as its own home automation platform, HomeKit.

"However, In a reference to current tensions over privacy and terrorism, Apple says that the HomePod won't record anything until the term 'Hey Siri" is uttered.

Set to retail for $349 United States dollars, the HomePod's specifications certainly stand up to the competition.

Amazon and Google's smart speakers play a supporting role in the companies' larger business strategies.

Apple is also updating the operating software for its Apple Watch, including new watch faces, more personalized alerts that use machine learning to tailor information to you based on your routines and tastes.

This isn't Apple's first attempt to enter the home audio market.

Although Siri would likely be a centerpiece of a smart speaker from Apple, Moorhead said the device's design, colours and acoustics will also likely be focal points because the company has a long history of making elegantly designed products.

That's all fun and games until you start to wonder if Siri is now spying on you and your loved ones.

That's not to say Apple's new speaker will definitely be a hit, just to say that first impressions are often hilariously wrong. It's shorter and fatter, with a rounded base and a slanted top.

Apple also revealed new safety systems for using iPhones within cars, featuring an enhanced "do not disturb" function. The new macOS is called High Sierra with newer, faster version of the Safari browser with new facial recognition features in Photos. 4.

What form this hardware will take, if it exists at all, is still unknown.

Apple will have to compete with other tech giants over software smarts you can't see, where it's lagged recently.

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