App Store redesign also coming along soon with iOS 11

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Apple appears poised to unveil a voice-activated, internet-connected speaker that would create a new digital pipeline into people's homes.

But Tim Cook & Co. revealed plenty about the software that will be at the new iPhone's core when it arrives, likely in the fall.

Apple also announced new features for its iPhones and iPads, coming in a software update expected in September.

iOS 11 will be available as a free update in the autumn. I'm eager to see the many ways developers might do just that, in gaming, commerce and more. Apple said that makes the Mac a great platform for development virtual-reality "experiences". Watch out, Venmo, PayPal and Square. Or if someone texts you about owing money, it will ask if you want to pay using Apple Pay. Apple still has some explaining to do when it comes to the finer details. And Apple will also provide a "lane guidance" view when you take the wheel of a auto.

The technology firm has introduced a new feature called Do Not Disturb While Driving, which silences notifications and turns off the iPhone screen when it detects you are driving. Through its Messages app, you'll be able to send and receive money from other iOS users.

New in iOS 11 will be a better camera app, a more capable Apple Pay system, a new version of Apple Maps with indoor mapping and a new toolkit to help developers bring augmented reality features to their apps. Your Siri interactions are synced across devices (and encrypted.) I don't know how much you'll appreciate the new, supposedly more natural-sounding male and female Siri voices.

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Siri will be able to translate in various languages, like English, French, Chinese, German, Spanish and Italian.

For photos, Apple is replacing JPEGs with a new format meant to reduce file sizes.

"A big question mark for the new speaker, though, is whether Siri is good enough to power its own dedicated device". On iPad Pro, a redesigned app switcher and customisable dock gives the operating system a flatter, more modern look. But Apple is promising easier one-handed typing, with easy access to numbers, symbols and punctuation.

As for HomePod, Apple says that while the speaker's always listening, nothing will be sent to Apple's servers until you say, "Hey, Siri". These devices will only keep the most recent messages in local storage. Apple noted on the WWDC stage that Nike can add exercise playlists through the catalog, or Shazam can automatically add the songs it identifies to your music collection.

Apple's annual conference for app developers begins Monday in San Jose, California. With iOS 11, iPhone and iPad are the most powerful, personal, and intelligent devices they've ever been. Now, we get to see a completely new size sitting at a sweet spot between the two, as the new iPad Pro has a 10.5-inch display.

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