New smart speaker expected as Apple kicks off conference

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

To be clear, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Snap have all been busy in both AI and AR.

The price is quite a jump from Google's $129 Home and Amazon's $180 full-sized Echo.

It is also created to work with Apple Music subscriptions, able to access your music library and make recommendations based on song history. When you say "Hey Siri", it starts listening for your command or question.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the latest operating system for Mac computers.

The HomePod will go on sale later this year and costs $349. With Siri most widely used on iPhone, Apple risked missing out on the daily, at-home tasks consumers increasingly use Echo or Home for - reminders, calendars, music. 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.

Apple will be looking to the new product to help shore up falling iPhone revenues. Although that product came out after other smartwatches hit the market, it quickly outshone competitors, according to industry research firms.

While whispers of a touch-enabled Mac line that would open the door to more versatile Apple machines turned out to be baseless, Apple is significantly updating several of its existing products with modern components, as well as introducing a new turbo-charged iMac. During Jobs' last decade, Apple introduced the iPod, iPhone and iPad - all huge commercial successes that both reshaped daily life and swamped previous digital music players, smartphones and tablets.

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The research firm IDC says Apple and Xiaomi each has a worldwide market share of almost 15 percent in the first quarter. Once you've said that command, it sends an anonymous Siri ID and encrypted communications to and from Apple's servers. New iMacs released Monday are getting better displays and graphics capabilities. Apple Music now has 27 million subscribers, Schiller said, with the aim being to provide subscribers with the best home audio experience possible.

There were also a couple of updates to Apple's web browser, Safari, including a speed boost that makes it, according to Apple, the fastest ever desktop browser. It will allow users to automatically block auto-play videos by detecting videos that shouldn't be playing when you open a webpage to read an article, for example.

Apple is trying to make augmented reality a reality with new tools for iPhones and iPads. So far, the service has limited payments to purchases of products and services from companies and other organizations.

The free software update for mobile devices, iOS 11, is expected in September, when Apple typically releases new iPhones. It did so today at the WWDC (World Wide Developer's Conference), its annual in-house presentation of its newest innovations for software developers as reported by The New York Times.

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