Apple unveils an Amazon Echo competitor

Apple CEO Tim Cook will give the keynote speech at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference where analysts believe the company will reveal AI-driven technology

The HomePod will first be available in December to customers in the U.S., United Kingdom, and Australia.

Apple says its Safari browser will try to guard your privacy by identifying and blocking data files that track you as you move from website to website.

"Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes", said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

Apple said it had updated the processors in its iMac and MacBook Pro lineup to Intel's most recent "Kaby Lake" processors.

Positioned as a competitor to the Amazon Echo, the HomePod prioritizes music usage. Apple typically makes major updates to its Mac software every other year. Tapping Apples Siri digital assistant, such a speaker is expected to serve as a butler as well as an outlet for listening to music.

At Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple unveiled the HomePod Monday, its latest home device. It wakes to "Hey, Siri" and will attempt to answer basic questions and control other devices in addition to playing tunes via Apple Music.

High Sierra features will include being able to stop unexpected videos from starting to play automatically when landing on web pages and "intelligent tracking prevention" that will prevent ads from following people about the internet.

It starts shipping later this year in the USA, United Kingdom and Australia.

Recode had first reported that Amazon and Apple were nearing an agreement to bring Amazon's app to Apple TV, and BuzzFeed later confirmed the news.

The HomePod reveal was the final announcement during the keynote address today at WWDC, the Apple annual developer conference being held June 5-9 at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California.

A set of iOS 11 features including enabling smartphone cameras to read QR codes are aimed at the China market, where Apple would like to bolster iPhone sales.

The lack of a breakthrough device has periodically raised concerns that Apple has become too dependent on the iPhone and supported the theory that the company lost its knack for innovation when its co-founder Steve Jobs died of cancer in 2011. They were just the best overall.

The speaker is part of Apple's smart home drive, which began with Apple HomeKit. Amazon has heavily dominated the field with its home speaker called Echo, which uses the digital assistant Alexa. For Apple, having one would further broaden the role that its software, services and gadgets play in people's lives.

With sleek branding, favored integrations with Apple's other products, and the company's retail footprint, HomePod could mature into a true contender if Siri can get smarter. It would mark an effort by Apple to catch up with Amazon and Google.

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