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.
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.
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.