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Apple Speaks…or Listens

Siri’s new voice made a lot of noise at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) last week. She’s the lead voice of HomePod, Apple’s home hub that will try to muscle out Google Home and Amazon’s Echo. But as they say, “wait, there’s more.” Apple had a lot more to announce and a lot for Apple fans to look forward to.

HomePod is the biggie. Like its competitors, you can ask questions and get info like news, scores and weather. Apple claims it’s going beyond the others by providing encryption to protect users’ privacy, and a system to sense the size of a room and adjust its acoustics. It’s expected to be available in December and carry a $349 price tag. But it also signifies a move by Apple to making greater use of artificial intelligence (AI), and that will be reflected in some of Apple’s other announcements.

You can look for a new operating system for Apple’s devices, iOS 11, and for Apple Watch, watchOS 4. Siri plays a key role in both. For iOS 11, Siri will be able to do more tasks, speak in a more natural voice and assume a male or female voice. There will be other features available, including a control center for making certain adjustments, a person-to-person payment feature for Apple Pay, GPS features and a “do not disturb” option for voice and text while you’re driving your car. Apple Watch will have a new Siri-focused interface that can personalize notifications based on your behavior at different times of the day, such as traffic updates before you leave for work or home.

The new iOS 11 will add new features to the iPad Pro, which will increase its screen size to 10.5 inches ($649) and a bigger 12.9-in screen model ($799). Both will have 512 GB of storage, and they’ll add productivity features with the new iOS, such as multi-tasking and drag-and-drop images between apps. With a better stylus, it should also read your handwriting.

Macs are getting a new OS, High Sierra, and the machines are getting upgrades, too. New desktops have higher memory capacity and stronger graphics performance. The 21.5-inch iMac starts at $1,099; a 21.5-inch, 4K-capable iMac Retina will cost $1,299; and a 25-inch iMac Retina 5K goes for $1,799. All are available now. In December, you’ll be able to get the new iMac Pro, but it will cost $4,999. For laptops, the MacBook and MacBook Pro have faster processors and solid-state hard drives. The 15″ MacBook Pro is also getting faster graphics. Apple is also cutting the basic price for the MacBook’s 13-inch model by $300. All are available now.

Finally, Apple TV customers will now be able to watch Amazon Video through their set-top boxes.

I’ve always been a big fan of iOS-powered devices and have been developing more of a liking for Apple products. I believe there are many instances where Apple and Windows products can integrate seamlessly and where other devices and systems can come into play. Apple’s announcements have raised my geeky sense of excitement, and I hope they do the same for you.

As always, we’ll be getting our hands on a lot of this new technology as soon as we can, and we’ll be available to help you make informed buying decisions and get everything properly installed and operating. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us with your questions and comments. Better yet, leave a comment on our website to share your thoughts and experiences with our Sterling Rose community.