Apple to showcase new features for its gadgets

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Despite all this, a Siri speaker is a good move for Apple and its customers. It'll learn your habits based on what articles you might be reading, for instance.

It is also created to work with Apple Music subscriptions, able to access your music library and make recommendations based on song history.

The device syncs with Apple Music to provide a "deep knowledge of personal music preferences and tastes", which hopefully isn't as creepy as it sounds. That's a contrast to Google's approach. Once again, Apple has illustrated how they prefer to take a step back and assess where the market is moving before throwing their virtual hat in the ring and carving out their own niche.

Siri is getting a new voice on the iPhone - and will come with a male option for the first time.

"HomePod packs powerful speaker technology, Siri intelligence and wireless access to the entire Apple Music library into a lovely speaker that is less than 7 inches tall, can rock most any room with distortion free music and be a helpful assistant around your home", said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior VP of worldwide marketing. These devices will only keep the most recent messages in local storage.

For photos, Apple is turning to a "high efficiency" format to replace JPEGs. It's unclear what happens to the data once its on Apple's servers. So far, the service has limited payments to purchases of products and services from companies and other organizations. Apple last updated the iPad Pro last fall, when it introduced the smaller model, but the iPad Pro hasn't had a significant performance update since its 2015 release. The new iPads also come with a redesigned Retina display featuring ProMotion, a new technology that delivers 120Hz refresh rates for smoother scrolling and motion, including with the Apple Pencil.

Virtual reality is coming to Apple's Mac computers. Now we all know the novelty of questioning these assistants has already worn off, whether it is OK Google, Hey Siri, or Hey Alexa.

The new iMacs start at about $1,300.

The HomePod comes with an A8 fusion chip, the same one that powers the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Regardless, the 10.5 inch iPad Pro retails for $649 and starts shipping next week. The company also released a new computer, the iMac Pro.

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Apple had plenty of other announcements.

The next version of the Apple Watch operating system - watchOS 4 - includes a new watch face that puts the company's intelligent assistant Siri front and centre.

And Apple will have a new "do not disturb" mode for driving.

Apple was expected to announce a smart speaker, a market that Amazon - with its sleeper hit, the Echo - and the later Google Home, powered by Assistant - now dominate, given them an integral place in users' lives. Another Safari feature will stop video from automatically playing on websites.

The next Mac version will be called High Sierra, suggesting that it's a refinement of the current version, Sierra.

Apple will have to compete with other tech giants over software smarts you can't see, where it's lagged recently. It is coming out this fall and will be a free update.

Apple says it's giving more emphasis to sound quality, not just smarts. While everyone with experience with today's crop of digital assistants has their preferences, there is no definitive study that points to Siri, Amazon's Alexa, Google's Assistant, or any of the rest as being markedly better than its counterparts. Apple is also bringing improvements to playing music and recording fitness activities.

The HomePod will not be available until December of this year-to fit in with the launch of iOS 11, presumably-and only available (at first) in the United States, the UK and Australia.

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