What Is Apple's HomePod?

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Augmented reality is a mixture of live images and virtual animations and objects placed over them. Facebook and Google have been showcasing such distorted reality tech at their own demos, with plans to revolutionize commerce and communication. It's expected in September. It's frustrating yet permissible when Siri stumbles on your phone where you can easily default to your thumbs. Or if someone texts you about owing money, it will ask if you want to pay from your Apple Pay account. Google Home followed in October and Microsoft's assistant, Cortana, is also finding a home in home speakers. Apple is not yet taking pre-orders. Apple's approach protects privacy, but might make the service less useful when switching devices.

Apple is introducing an iPad Pro in a new size in an attempt to revive interest in its once hot-selling line of tablets. Siri will be voice activated to respond to requests for information and other help around the house.

Apple today took wraps off of a neat new piece of home audio gear - a compact speaker which takes aim at both personal assistant devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home, and also the premium wireless speaker market.

With the next version of the iOS system for mobile devices, messages will sync in the cloud.

For photos, Apple is replacing JPEGs with a new format meant to reduce file sizes. What's more, that project is still in the works.

It feels even odder to write this: Highly profitable Apple should try to become a little more like profit-challenged Amazon in the financial strategy behind its hardware business.

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

The tech giant announced the updated iMacs would have new, faster processors as well as "43% brighter" displays.

iPad Pro has a new feature called ProMotion that makes the Apple Pencil quicker-latency down to 20 milliseconds, not that anybody's actually clocking this. The new model starts at $649 and will start shipping next week. This year virtual reality is a factor; the new iMacs will also support graphics for VR content creation. It will come in December starting at about $5,000.

It's turning to machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence, to make that happen.

It is the first new device Apple has announced in nearly three years.

Amazon has heavily dominated the field with its home speaker called Echo, which uses the digital assistant Alexa. It will be available in other countries next year. It is coming out this fall and will be a free update. The smartwatch promises to learn about your routines to figure out what information to display.

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-Toy Story heroes Buzz, Woody and Jessie join Mickey and Minnie Mouse as Apple Watch faces. Apple is also bringing improvements to playing music and recording fitness activities.

Cook noted that Apple has 16 million registered developers, up 3 million in 2016 alone, and has paid out $70 billion to developers since the store opened in 2008. By comparison, Apple shipped 51 million iPhones and 9 million iPads during the same stretch.

Amazon is already available on rival devices such as Roku and, of course, Amazon's Fire TV.

Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the latest operating system for Mac computers. The event has been in San Francisco in recent years. Not surprisingly, it depicts a world of chaos. But Apple was careful to frame it as a product focused on music first - potentially differentiating it from the Echo and Home.

The lack of a breakthrough device has periodically raised concerns that Apple has become too dependent on the iPhone. Apple's entry into the market could change that.

There, Apple shares the lead with Chinese company Xiaomi, whose fitness tracking wristbands are mostly sold in China. Fitbit, once the leader of wearable devices, is third at about 12 percent.

The conference starts Monday in San Jose, California. Popular apps, such as Pokémon Go and SnapChat, can use ARKit for improved real-time renders. 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 "can't afford to yield valuable real-estate in the heart of people's homes to Amazon, Google and others", said Geoff Blaber, research analyst at CCS Insight.

Apple showed the speaker working with Apple Music, but Apple has yet to announce if it will support other media sources.

I'm sure HomePod will be great, at least for listening to music. If the speculation pans out, the speaker would be Apple's first new product since its smartwatch in 2015.

"Though Apple appears to be playing catch up with Amazon and Google, the primary casualty here may be Sonos".

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