Apple adds Amazon Prime Video to Apple TV, "Toy Story" to Watch

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It will come in December starting at about $5,000. The Apple Watch is the company's most innovative product of the past few years, and its growth has been steady but slow. But is the £270 device good enough to topple the Amazon Echo and Google Home?

The company is casting Siri as a music connoisseur that will learn and cater to the tastes of the HomePod's owners, as well as answer questions about the songs as they are played.

More than 35 million people in the USA are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than doubling from last year, according the research firm eMarketer.

The new features earning the most applause from the audience, however were the ability to block videos from automatically playing in Safari and intelligent tracking prevention, essentially stopping those pesky targeted ads from following you around the internet.

CEO Tim Cook said Amazon Prime Video, which includes original series like "Man in the High Castle", would be added to Apple TV. It's the first time in 15 years that Apple has held its conference in San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley.

"We believe both the importance of smartphone brand and consumers' perception of value in incremental smartphone innovation have declined in recent years", said Pacific Crest analysts in a note to investors.

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This time, Apple is expected to announce iOS 11, macOS 10.13, watchOS 4, and tvOS11. If the speculation pans out, the speaker would be Apple's first new product since its smartwatch in 2015.

The lack of a breakthrough device has periodically raised concerns that Apple has become too dependent on the iPhone and supported the theory that the company lost its knack for innovation when its co-founder Steve Jobs died of cancer in 2011.

Firstly, according to an alleged Foxconn insider, Apple's AR glasses that are being developed under "Project Mirrorshades" have a 65 per cent chance of not being around in 2018/2019. This year, however, Apple watchers believe there could be a number of product announcements - perhaps including a new product line, with a new smart speaker.

The cylindrical-shaped HomePod is roughly 7-inches in height and features a large, Apple-designed woofer for deep, clean bass, an array of seven beam-forming tweeters for pure high frequency acoustics with directional control.

But really, this is Apple's admission that it needed to kick the voice command can down the road a bit and strengthen Siri but it goes gunning for Google and Amazon.

Apple's annual conference for app developers begins Monday in San Jose, California. If the Google Home looks like an air freshener, the HomePod looks a bit like a ball of yarn. For Apple, having one would further broaden the role that its software, services and gadgets play in people's lives.