Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 6th Jun 2017 16:15 UTC
Apple

We've already covered the most interesting announcements Apple made last night, so consider this item a grab bag of other things the company announced. First, a new iPad Pro with thinner bezels housing a 10.5" display, 120Hz refresh rate, better pen tracking, and, of course, eventually it'll get iOS 11 with a lot of iPad-specific improvements.

Apple also entered the market for speakers-you-can-talk-to with the HomePod, which is exactly what it sounds like: Siri in a can with a bunch of speakers. None of these products - the Echo, the Google Home, or this one - are available in The Netherlands, so I have no idea how useful they actually are. I don't quite understand what a speaker which will be invariably worse than your hi-fi system has to offer over your smartphone and a ChromeCast or ChromeCast Audio, especially since you can't take the can with you. Maybe I'm just not getting it.

Then there's watchOS 4:

Apple has announced new features for watchOS 4, including major updates coming to Workouts, Activity, Music, all-new watch faces, and "GymKit," which provides a seamless connection between Apple Watch and gym equipment.

Combined with yesterday's items, this covers pretty much all of the stuff Apple announced last night. A lot of cool new features and products to look forward to for Apple users.

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samcrumugeon
Member since:
2014-02-17

While I personally find little use for a voice-based assistant device, I've seen the usefulness of the Amazon Echo for my elderly parents and my kids. My parents use the device to find out the weather (neither have smartphones yet), sports scores, play music (lots of 70s-era soft rock), and ask factoids while in conversations or while watching Jeopardy. We plan (maybe this Christmas) to buy the Echo with video screens so our kids can talk to the grandparents.

Reply Score: 1

Regarding HomePod
by raglan on Tue 6th Jun 2017 16:50 UTC
raglan
Member since:
2016-12-27

Regarding HomePod, I don't own any product like that (Echo, Home, etc), but every single person I know that has one uses it 99% for listening to music. "Hey Google, play Slothrust!" It's a gimmick combined with a bad speaker. In that sense, I think Apple has a good idea in focusing on the sound quality, while I haven't heard this new HomePod myself I'm guessing with its subwoofer and 7 tweeters it will sound a lot better than the others, which are unimpressive. If it does, that's a significant selling point.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Regarding HomePod
by bryanv on Tue 6th Jun 2017 18:58 UTC in reply to "Regarding HomePod"
bryanv Member since:
2005-08-26

That gimmick is probably also harvesting random conversation data to sell to advertisers or use for product research / marketing.
Just saying.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Regarding HomePod
by kamil_chatrnuch on Tue 6th Jun 2017 19:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Regarding HomePod"
kamil_chatrnuch Member since:
2005-07-07

no, it's not. check before "just saying".

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Regarding HomePod
by darknexus on Tue 6th Jun 2017 20:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Regarding HomePod"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Well, to be fair, they say it's not. That said, given the amount of scrutiny Apple in particular tend to get due to their very public stance on user privacy, they're probably telling the truth. The last thing they'd want is a network security specialist running Wireshark and outing them. Google and Amazon, on the other hand, collect your data and don't give a rat's ass what you might think about their practices.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Regarding HomePod
by fretinator on Tue 6th Jun 2017 20:58 UTC in reply to "Regarding HomePod"
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

It always seems like people ignore the Echo Dot. It's cheap - $49.95, and often available for less. It's the Echo without the speaker. Then you just pair whatever cool speaker you have. I love it. Yes, I am old. I also have an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription to go with my Prime sub. Alexa controls our lights, television, and plays just about any album or song or genre I can think of. Sure I could do the same with my phone and a speaker, but I don't want to. Who wants to fire up an app when I can just ask Alexa.

I really think voice interaction is the future. It has a long way to go. Just getting Alexa to change the channel on the TV is more difficult than it should be. But as time goes by, it's just going to get easier and easier. So much of computing really revolves around consumption. We still needs screens for reading, as I can read much faster than Alexa can talk, but the interaction is greatly enhanced if I can just say it. Content creation is another matter.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Bill Shooter of Bul
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 6th Jun 2017 21:30 UTC
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

Then you just pair whatever cool speaker you have


Sadly, I have not a cool speaker, to speak of. So then the question becomes do I buy a dot and a cool speaker or just get the echo and be done with it.

I don't think I'm alone, there aren't many speaker nerds anymore. I think they ended up getting transformed into headphone nerds. I say this as a recovered car speaker nerd ( blue thunder 4 eva) .

Reply Score: 2

Just not getting it? Convenience
by avgalen on Wed 7th Jun 2017 08:40 UTC
avgalen
Member since:
2010-09-23

I don't quite understand what a speaker which will be invariably worse than your hi-fi system has to offer over your smartphone and a ChromeCast or ChromeCast Audio, especially since you can't take the can with you. Maybe I'm just not getting it.

Option 1: Take a personal smartphone that requires manual unlocking, add a voice assistant and several apps, pair it with a speaker/hifi-set or maybe a chromecast and tv and after all that geeking you might have something that works for you
Option 2: Buy a cheaper device that "just works" for the entire family and can be activated by just saying a "Hey"

My 3 year old son would love to say "Hey, play Cars 2 music" but instead he says "Hey papa, I want to hear Cars 2 music" and now papa has to execute. I can understand the appeal of such a device and would probably get one if it would work in Dutch AND supported the services that I use.

Reply Score: 2