Apple kicked off its annual three-day developer conference by unveiling a smart speaker, a new iMac Pro, a major deal with a rival and its first attempt at taking on Venmo.
At the event, held in San Jose on Monday, Apple (AAPL, Tech30) touted a new peer-to-peer payments service and announced a deal to bring
Amazon video content to Apple TV after years of tension between the two companies.
The Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is usually where Apple previews its software updates. But Apple also used the event to introduce a new piece of hardware and give some major upgrades to existing products.
Apple is taking on Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) and Google (GOOG) with its very own smart speaker, the HomePod. The 7-inch high speaker looks like the top of a microphone. Available in white and black, the $349 device is being marketed as a smart speaker with higher quality audio than its competitors.
It has six microphones that are always listening for the trigger phrase “Hey, Siri.” It works with Apple Music and your existing iTunes library to play tunes or podcasts. If you have other devices connected to Apple’s smart home app, you can control them though the speaker as well. It also does the usual smart speaker tasks, like playing the news, setting timers and answering basic questions.
Apple TV adds Amazon
While Apple is going after Amazon with the HomePod, it’s offering an olive branch with Apple TV. Amazon’s Prime Video app will soon be available on Apple TV. CEO Tim Cook said Apple was pleased about the partnership, and mentioned some original Amazon content like Transparent.
The announcement marks a detente of sorts between the two companies, which have been locked in a streaming rivalry for years. In 2015, Amazon went so far as to pull listings for the Apple TV from its online store.