Amazon has created a new market that could eventually become the next big thing. Apple doesn't want to be left out, and as such, reports claim the company is hard at work on its very own smart home hardware that will compete with the Amazon Echo.

This is an important step for Apple as the home isn't actually smart just yet. There are several devices to help with transforming a home into a smart home, but most have to do with cameras, automatic doors and sensors.

When it comes down to having an artificial intelligence system to interact with, only Amazon provides something that is worth having. Apple needs to be in this spot, especially if it wants to keep Siri relevant for the long term.

We understand, according to a report from Bloomberg, that Apple has been working on a smart home device for quite some time. Unfortunately for the company, Amazon came out first with the Echo and it has garnered a lot of buzz.

For those who are unaware, the Echo makes it possible for users to use a single device to control lights within their home, close and open doors, along with controlling certain appliances. It's a decent enough tool that could change the way folks operate within their homes.

What will the Apple smart home device be like?

Well, we don't know much of what is to come, but if Bloomberg's report is to be believed, then Apple is working on something with an improved speaker over the ones found in the Amazon Echo and whatever Google is working on right now.

There's also a possible "proprietary surround sound technology" to go with the improved speakers. What this means isn't exactly clear at this point, but we're itching to learn more.

Also, it appears as if Apple engineers have been using this hardware at their homes for some time. If this is indeed the case, then the device could be coming along quite nicely. We could see it announced come 2017 at the next Apple conference.

If this device is real, then it would be the most interesting hardware to come from Apple since the original Apple Watch. However, only time will tell if it will be able to compete effectively with the Amazon Echo.

We should bear in mind that Amazon has enough time on the market to optimize its software, and to make its device more affordable. Apple will be at a disadvantage, but seeing as it has a host of followers, topping Amazon in terms of sales shouldn't be much of a problem. Still, it might not have the best working smart home device on the market.

Photo: Scott Lewis | Flickr

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