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Apple to launch first connected speaker; unveils new iPad, Watch OS

Apple Inc. on June 5 debuted its first connected home speaker alongside updates to the iPad, Watch OS and other products and services.

The new speaker, HomePod, is designed for interactive voice control, allowing users to search their music library, ask questions about songs and record musical preferences. The 7-inch speaker features six microphones with echo cancellation to enable Siri to better hear users, as well as technology that allows it to automatically adjust the audio volume after sensing its location in a room. It also can function as a home assistance, providing remote controls for smart home devices.

HomePod will be available December in white and space gray for $349. The device will launch first in the U.S., Australia, the United Kingdom, with pricing outside the U.S. to be announced later.

Apple also revealed updated 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, featuring ProMotion technology to improve the device's responsiveness to movement across the screen and an A10X Fusion chip with a six-core central processing unit to make it more powerful. The iPad Pro features a 12-megapixel camera, along with a 7-megapixel Face Time HD camera.

The tablets are available to order starting June 5 and will be on sale in Apple Stores in a week in the U.S. and 37 other countries and regions, with more to follow in the next two months. The 10.5-inch model is available in silver, space gray, gold and rose gold, with price starting at $649 for the 64 GB Wi-Fi model and $779 for the 64 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model. The 12.9-inch model is available in silver, space gray and gold, with prices starting at $799 for the 64 GB Wi-Fi model and $929 for the 64 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model.

Apple Watch also will get an update with the new watchOS 4. It will feature a Siri-powered interactive display, an enhanced Workout app and new technology platform, GymKit, for connected workouts with cardio equipment.