Apple WWDC 2017: Too many new things, but Cupertino's focus is clear

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That changes with the upcoming ability in new Macs to support SteamVR and connect to external graphics cards via Thunderbolt enclosures.

Apple has finally unveiled its answer to Amazon's and Google's smart speakers slash digital assistants - and it's called HomePod.

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". Augmented reality is the blending of the physical and virtual worlds.

The conference is typically devoted to software updates and this year, Apple released a series of new features and updates for the iPhone, the iPad, Mac and the Apple Watch - including an augmented-reality kit for developers aimed at making the iPhone "the largest AR platform in the world".

What Siri learns on one device is synced across all devices, but this is still private thanks to end-to-end encryption, Apple says.

While numerous announcements were expected, top Apple analyst and Loup Ventures founder Gene Munster said he was particularly impressed by Apple's augmented reality demo.

Kicking off the announcements, Apple CEO Tim Cook told the WWDC crowd - to ample applause - that the company is partnering with Amazon for its TV app. Amazon Prime Video (Cook mentioned Amazon's Transparent as one of the deal's many offerings) will be available on Apple TV later this year.

Apple also announced new features for its iPhones and iPads, coming in a software update expected in September. Amazon sells the main version of the Echo for $180; Google's Home speaker goes for $130. The company "can't afford to yield valuable real-estate in the heart of people's homes to Amazon, Google and others", said Geoff Blaber, research analyst at CCS Insight.

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"A big question mark for the new speaker, though, is whether Siri is good enough to power its own dedicated device".

Apple is introducing a 10.5-inch iPad Pro in an attempt to revive interest in its once hot-selling line of tablets.

The new iPad Pro is displayed during the 2017 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference.

The latest iMac Pro is scheduled to arrive in stores on December starting from US$4,999.

And the operating system for mobile devices is getting a major update with iOS 11.

"New indoor maps of areas like malls and airports indicated that Apple might be laying groundwork to display information over images of those places in the future".

Apple's inclusion of a driving mode for the iPhone comes after a class action was launched in the USA claiming the company had sat on rolling out a version of the software for several years.

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.

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