Apple Inc kicked off its annual developer conference on Monday by unveiling a “Siri face” for the Apple Watch that will enable the voice-activated assistant to provide users with information like commute times for upcoming appointments. Analysts and investors are watching the conference this year for signs of what the company’s next blockbuster product might be a decade after the introduction of its iPhone.
The company was expected to introduce iOS 11, the next version of the software that powers the iPhone and iPad. Developers will keep an eye out for hints about new capabilities in the next iPhone, such as so-called augmented reality, in which digital information is overlaid on real-world images.
Apple was also expected to unveil improvements to Siri, its digital voice assistant that competes with Amazon.com Inc’s Alexa and the Google Assistant helper. The Siri face for the Apple Watch was the first step in that direction, blending users’ calendar information with other useful details, like airline tickets they may have booked. While Siri was previously available on the Apple Watch, the assistant’s ability to automatically show information was limited.
The company is also reportedly working on a home speaker powered by Siri that could be unveiled during the conference, which would be a rarity for an event that traditionally features software and minor updates to hardware such as its Mac laptops. Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook also announced on Monday that content from Amazon Prime Video, long absent from the Apple TV product, would come to Apple devices such as the TV, iPhones and iPad later this year.