"The HomePod is a powerful home speaker with superior audio capabilities than other high-end speakers now in the market, and has Siri voice control that connects to other devices [based on Apple's HomeKit framework for home automation]", he said.
This year however, the talk also included the first look at the new HomePod, Apple's oddly named smart speaker.Available in December, it won't be cheap-$349-but Apple boasts that it will have better audio than its competition.HomePod requires an iPhone 5S or later and iOS 11.
Activated by voice with Apple's natural language user interface Siri, it will have access to Apple Music, a music-streaming service.
The iPhone-maker has started manufacturing a long-in-the-works Siri-controlled smart speaker, according to people familiar with the matter.
Tim Cook, Apple CEO and Auburn alumnus, walks onto the stage at the Telfair B. Peet Theatre, on Thursday, April 5, 2017 in Auburn, Ala.
With Apple Music integration, the smart speaker has 40 million songs on tap. And, like Siri on the iPhone, AAPL's personal digital assistant can be asked questions about the weather, traffic and pretty much anything else.
Analysts said Apple is playing to its strength in the music industry by focusing on sound quality and its catalog of songs available on HomePod.
Apple will begin shipping the HomePod to the United States, Britain and Australia in December.
Apple said it is updating its iPad Pro with a 10.5-inch Retina display and a refresh rate the company said is twice as fast, making videos smoother and crisper.
AI isn't new to Apple, which has been nurturing Siri since 2011, but it didn't become a priority for the company until last October, when it hired Carnegie Mellon University professor Ruslan Salakhutdinov as its first director of AI research.
Cook and other Apple executives showed off several additional new Siri functions, highlighting how the company has been working to catch up with similar offerings from Alphabet Inc and Amazon.com Inc. Apple plans to ship it in December-first to customers in the U.S., U.K., and Australia.
Apple Inc. introduced a music speaker HomePod at an annual gathering of software developers on Monday.
Apple lovers already tend to be "premium product buyers", and may not flinch at paying more for what they believe is a superior quality product, said Gartner analyst Brian Blau. The speaker can also control your home kit devices, in case you have any. Microsoft also has announced its own speaker with Samsung's Harman business; it will use Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant.
New features coming to iPhones and iPads, meanwhile, include marginal improvements such as syncing messages to Apple servers in the cloud, saving storage space on phones and tablets. Although it seems like a nice starting price for a new product line, we must understand that it requires an Apple Music subscription costing at least $120 per year.