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HomePod will be 'smartest home speaker' on offer, says Apple

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New smart speaker expected as Apple kicks off conference

In addition, Cook said Apple, headquartered in Cupertino, Northern California, now has 16 million registered software developers worldwide for its consumer electronics, including smartphone known as iPhone, and 3 million of them were added past year.

Apple has announced it will be going the home AI unit arms race against Google and Amazon with the launch of its HomePod later in the year.

Virtual reality has been described as the next big thing for decades.

Apple's annual event, WWDC 2017, has kicked off yesterday.

To allay fears of any type of snooping, Apple assures prospective buyers that the "Hey Siri" launch phrase is recognised locally on the device and if any information is sent to Apple servers, it will always be encrypted and sent using an anonymous Siri identifier.

After months of speculations, American technology major Apple finally pulled the wraps off the much-awaited Siri-powered smart speaker.

The HomePod, which Apple claims is the next evolution of its focus on music technology, is essentially just a wireless speaker. By saying, "Hey Siri, I like this song", HomePod and Apple Music become the ideal musicologist, learning preferences from hundreds of genres and moods, across tens of thousands of playlists, and these music tastes are shared across devices.

Apple's John Ternus speaks during an announcement of new products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif., Monday, June 5, 2017.

HomePod is set to ship this December in the US, UK, and Australia, and is priced at $349. Google followed with its Home speaker, featuring its plain-named Assistant, last year.

Apple has presently only shown off its cylindrical, mesh-covered smart speaker on stage at WWDC, it is not quite ready to make its way into the home of Pro-Apple (most likely) consumers as of yet. The pricing of Apple's device was shared at the conference in comparison to both smart home speakers as well as premium audio speakers. In other words, Sonos is now an Apple competitor.

Still, the Apple Watch hasn't been a smash hit, fueling worries that the company's ability to transfix customers had waned after the 2011 death of co-founder Steve Jobs. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV.

So, which smart home speaker should you buy-Amazon's, Google's, or Apple's?

A survey released last month by research firm eMarketer found Echo speakers held 70.6 percent of the United States market, compared with 23.8 percent for Google Home and 5.6 percent for others including Lenovo, LG, Harmon Kardon and Mattel.

Apple vice president Phil Schiller said the Siri team at Apple had tuned the assistant into a "musicologist" that learns the tastes of listeners and gets songs from the internet cloud.

Safari, Apple's web browser, is getting new features aimed at online annoyances. There's also a 12.9in version that starts at $799. It will not actually block ads, though.

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