Apple iOS 11 adds 'Do Not Disturb While Driving' feature

The on-device learning that evolves Siri into a more personal assistant can be accessed on all Apple devices that are synced by you.

The feature was announced Monday during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif.

The speaker will sell for about US$350 in December in the USA, United Kingdom and Australia. The Apple Watch now leverages its data-crunching power to automatically populate its screen with the day's most pressing events, while Photos features improved facial-recognition capability to create Memories of recently photographed events.

Software updates are also in store, with iOS at the fore. Once money is transferred, it will be transferred to an Apple Pay cash card that can be sent to friends, family, or deposited directly into the bank. While it faces increased competition from Google's Project Tango, which has been around since June 2014, that platform is only available on select Android devices. Siri also has a male voice and some new voice tones for its female version.

Artificial intelligence didn't take center stage at Apple's WWDC, as some had predicted it would. The smartwatch promises to learn about your routines to figure out what information to display. The popular Live Photos feature, introduced with iPhone 6S, now includes trimming and a variety of loops and long exposure effects to make it more engaging. It's called the HomePod and it does most of the same things as Alexa, but it features high end speakers and Apple claims stronger privacy protection.

Debuting a smart speaker competitor to Amazon.com Inc.'s Echo and the Google Home at WWDC would be a logical step, since it would give developers the tools to build apps for the device before its release later in the year. Even then, Apple says it won't know who you are — it'll just get an anonymous ID to help process a response.

When you look at your iOS device screen, you'll be able to interact with virtual items overlaid in your real world. A demo of a steaming coffee cup next to a lamp on a table drew hoots and hollers from the developer audience, although the first vestiges of the technology are likely to emerge in gaming environments.

It is supported by millions of iPads and iPhones, making it the largest AR Platform in the world, said Federighi. So far, interest in VR has been strongest among gamers, developers and hardware makers rather than everyday users. These all take a backseat role to Apple's headline announcement though, the launch of augmented reality on the iPhone and iPad. That size offers room for a full-size keyboard, something the 9.7 inch model couldn't. The new iPad starts at $649 and will start shipping next week.

AirPlay 2 is a new protocol that will enable HomeKit to communicate with speakers, including those from Apple-owned Beats, Bose, Bang & Olufsen, and a number of other manufacturers. Apple also unveiled the high-end iMac Pro coming in December starting at about $5,000.

There were few wow moments, though, extending a trend in recent years of incremental refinements that keep loyalists happy but which fail to carve out huge new markets, like the first iPhones or iPods did.

What's new in iOS 11?

HomePod uses the company's A8 chip, which Apple also uses for its mobile devices. There is also a new and easier way to switch between apps. The update adds a speed limit guidance and lane navigation. Google Maps already does both.

iOS 11 features a host of improvements and new features including the option to send payments to other iPhone users, as well a "do not disturb while driving" mode.

Getting distracted at the wheel by your phone?

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