Published: Tue, June 06, 2017
Tech | By Dwayne Harmon

New smart speaker expected as Apple kicks off conference

New smart speaker expected as Apple kicks off conference

Recent data from ComScore supports this idea, that most people tend to use smart speakers like the Echo for basic tasks.Amazon just announced its AI assistant Alexa will now be able to recognize commands to set reminders and named timers. 39% of smart speaker owners use them to set reminders, and 41% use them to set timers anyway, so why not make it more functional (and by more functional I mean actually functional in the first place)? Alongside iCloud integration, Amazon's digital assistant now supports a total of five calendar services: Gmail, Google's G Suite for business users, Outlook (which includes Hotmail, Live, and MSN), and Microsoft Office 365 users with Exchange accounts. Apple is reportedly also about to announce a Siri speaker during its WWDC 2017 keynote this coming Monday, yet it's unclear if the company can push past the stigma that still surrounds Siri. It's the first time in 15 years that Apple has held its conference in San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley.

Apple also revealed Amazon will be making an app for its video service for the Apple TV device this year, filling one of the major gaps on Apple's streaming TV device.

Amazon's lineup of Alexa-enabled smart speakers is just a few years old now, but it's already one of the hottest new device lines in the world.

These two new Alexa features are available now for users in the USA, and should reach owners in the United Kingdom and Germany in the "coming weeks", Amazon said. And as more people install Internet-connected speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, Siri is missing from that too.

When Apple unveiled Siri as a digital assistant for the iPhone in 2011, several reviewers raved at the concept of a virtual voice that could answer their commands.

Apple's annual developers conference is the company's chance to preview upcoming features for iPhones, iPads, watches and Mac computers. But Apple occasionally also uses the event to introduce new devices and services and upgrades to existing products.

The June 2017 update brings two main new features to your Alexa voice assistant.

The latter feature will let you assign a specific name to a timer, which should come in handy when you're cooking. Google, meanwhile, previewed new speaker features such as hands-free phone calling during its software conference last month. It's possible that Apple will add features to its operating system that would indicate what's next. We'll also cover how to get the update and when you can expect it to hit your device in the United Kingdom and other countries.

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