A Wednesday report by Bloomberg indicates Apple’s much-rumored Siri smart speaker, intended to compete with the likes of Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home speakers, is already in production. The device may debut at next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference.
The iPhone-maker has started manufacturing a long-in-the-works Siri-controlled smart speaker, according to people familiar with the matter. Apple could debut the speaker as soon as its annual developer conference in June, but the device will not be ready to ship until later in the year, the people said.
The report, which cites the ever-popular “people familiar with the matter,” say despite rumors of a touchscreen for the device, the AI-based speaker will not feature a display.
Apple will seek to set their smart speaker apart from other entries in the market via deep integration with other Apple products, as well as improved sound via virtual surround sound technology.
Apple hopes that more advanced acoustics technology will give the speaker an edge over competitors, according to people with knowledge of the product’s development. Along with generating virtual surround sound, the speakers being tested are louder and reproduce sound more crisply than rival offerings, the people said. Apple has also considered including sensors that measure a room’s acoustics and automatically adjust audio levels during use, one of the people said.
Apple is likely to allow third-party services and apps for the new device, which will also serve as a HomeKit home automation hub.
The device will be a hub for Apple’s HomeKit home automation system, letting users control devices such as lights, door locks and window blinds. At present, an Apple TV or iPad is required to control that equipment from outside the home or automatically. The Echo and Google Home both support third-party services and smart home appliances.
Inventec, the manufacturer of Apple’s popular AirPods wireless headphones, is said to be tasked with assembling the new Siri smart speaker. The speaker reportedly has been tested in the homes of Apple employees over the last several months.