Siri speaker, iOS 11 likely to be unveiled

How to get the new version of macOS 10.13

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

The iPhone 8 is expected to be released in September this year, so this could affect the release date of the rumoured speaker.

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

Some industry insiders, however, note that Apple will be under more pressure to improve the computing smarts of its Siri software in the face of offerings from rivals Google and Amazon.

The learning that Siri experiences will be synced across devices, however, the data will remain private to you, which means that, according to Apple, the company isn't going to be selling your activity to advertisers or anything weird like that.

The iPhone giant unveiled a device called the HomePod, a next generation voice-controlled music speaker that will be its first major new product category since it unveiled the Apple Watch in 2014. The US, the United Kingdom and Australia go first in December. Shipments of intelligent home speakers surged almost 600% year-over-year to 4.2 million units in the fourth quarter, with Amazon taking about 88% share and Google 10%, according to consultant Strategy Analytics.

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High Sierra will be released later this year as a free update, according to Federighi. 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.

And Apple Watch is bringing Siri front and center.

But at the same time, Siri is now facing significant competition from others.

Security and privacy are fundamental to the design of Apple hardware, software and services.

Analysts said the smart home speaker market is ripe for Apple. The uncertainties lie in how many Google developers and customers will defect. That's especially important because people are starting to access information, entertainment and search in a more "pervasive" way that's less dependent on smarthphones, he said.

It also uses spacial awareness to adapt and ensure a better sound, depending on its environment, and it works closely with Apple Music.

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The company said it has updated Siri, making its voice sound more natural and giving it translation abilities across about five languages. During a demonstration, developers from Epic Games and Industrial Light and Magic demonstrated the way designers could shoot fire inside a virtual reality design of "Star Wars". It will not block the ads themselves, though. For example, if Siri notices that you're reading stories about Iceland in the Safari web browser, it might begin suggesting Iceland-related news from the Apple News app. It's part of Apple's effort to entice professionals with tablets that can handle many tasks previously reserved for laptops.

The company also rolled out tools for developers to create augmented reality applications for iPhones and iPads.

For instance, if a contact sends you a request for money, Siri will immediately surface the new Apple Pay feature in your messages which allows you to make person-to-person payments, a challenge to PayPal Holdings Inc.'s similar Venmo system.

During this week's conference, Apple also discussed significant software upgrades for the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch and debuted new iPad and Mac computer models.

Ortutay reported from NY.

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