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'Do Not Disturb While Driving' feature coming to iPhone iOS 11

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The company also launched a ton of new hardware, including upgraded MacBooks and a brand new smart speaker powered by Siri. Siri will be voice activated to respond to requests for information and other help around the house.

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.

The silver lining is that HomeKit works across a wider range of devices, while Alexa primarily powers just the Echo family. The smart speaker can also do things such as answer questions about the whether or traffic. Jan Dawson, chief analyst with Jackdaw Research, says the price is good for a high-end audio device.

The real standout technology here is in the thought and engineering that went into the speaker part of the equation. Apple plans to ship it in December-first to customers in the USA, U.K., and Australia.

For the first time since its introduction in 2007, the App Store has now been optimized with a card-based design and tabs that transform the layout into more of a basic newsfeed than anything else. Following in the Apple "pod" and "pad" naming tradition, HomePod uses Siri's machine intelligence for awareness in order to judge the size of the room and decide on music volumes all by itself. Apple also built auto-play video blocking directly in the browser to speed up performance.

In an effort to support real-time synchronization of messages between several Mac and IOS devices, Apple is now bringing iMessages to its iCloud platform. That could include a reminder to make a call or a flight reservation. Apple said that makes the Mac a great platform for developing virtual-reality "experiences", although the company didn't announce any consumer VR products.

"The popular 9.7" iPad Pro has been replaced with a 10.5" model with updated graphics and processing capabilities.

The free software, iOS 11, is expected in September, when Apple typically releases new iPhones. The new all-in-one computers are coming with two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports. Ahhh, sweet, sweet overkill. If the speculation pans out, the speaker would be Apple's first new product since its smartwatch in 2015.

But they were wrong: HomePod isn't an Amazon Echo rival.

Control Center looks pretty complicated and intimidating and kind of like a Cubist art piece, especially on the iPad where it's displayed in one long vertical strip. And thanks to continued fixes and updates from developer Niantic, the game has continued to improve over the last 12 months, making it just as inviting to play today as it was last summer.

The screen will remain dark with muted notifications. But special contacts can be allowed to pass through so "you have the piece of mind that you can get contacted ... and that message will go through", Federighi said.

Siri is getting some much needed love and attention from Apple engineers.

The Siri watchface uses machine learning to determine what information is most useful to you at a given point in time. It's a mostly under-the-hood change, but users will notice a difference. She'll also be able to translate and speak aloud phrases from other languages, including Chinese, French and German. I've never felt like I was able to quickly move around iOS, but it already feels like iOS 11 will start to change that.

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