Currently, Apple is said to be in the process of producing its own smart speaker to rival Google and Amazon with their respective Home and Echo devices.
One area Apple has yet to penetrate is the smart home. Sure, it has the HomeKit platform embedded into every iPhone, but so far, Siri has only been accessible via the iPhone, Mac, Apple TV, and the Apple Watch. But it appears that the company's virtual assistant is coming to an Apple-branded smart speaker soon.
Since Apple's yet-to-be-named Echo and Home competitor has entered the manufacturing stage, it could be unveiled during WWDC early June, but Apple might not start shipping the device until later in the year, as Bloomberg reports.
Siri Smart Speaker To Feature Surround Sound Technology
Apple's smart speaker will differentiate itself from Home and Echo by offering "virtual surround sound technology" in addition to deep integration with Apple's range of products, according to the report. The latter is no surprise: one of Apple's strongest suit is the combination of its proprietary hardware and software.
It appears Apple is focusing on the audio quality. Not only will it supposedly feature virtual surround sound technology as mentioned, but also "more advanced acoustics" compared with Home and Echo. Right now, everything is pretty much guesswork, but the emphasis on sound quality makes it safe to assume that Apple Music will play a key role alongside the speaker's Siri and HomeKit features.
The report also claims that Apple has thought about including "sensors that measure a room's acoustics and automatically adjust audio levels during use." Such a feature sounds slightly similar to TruePlay from Sonos speakers, which utilizes a mobile device's microphone to determine the optimum sound for a particular area or environment.
Siri Smart Speaker Rumors
Rumor has it that Apple's Siri smart speaker will have a touchscreen, as opposed to Home and Echo having none. That's because Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, believes voice assistants need displays, having cited certain situations — such as asking Siri for directions — where a screen is a crucial part of the whole setup.
Wide language support also seems a shoo-in by now, seeing as Siri already supports 18 languages.
Apple could also upgrade the Siri smart speaker every 12 to 18 months, coming up with a new model after such a period, with 10 to 12 million shipments each. There could also be variants of the smart speaker, similar to Amazon's Echo range of devices.
As always, keep in mind that all these rumors should be taken with a grain of salt. But those in anticipation shouldn't have to wait any longer if Apple is indeed positioning the smart speaker for a WWDC unveiling. Expect due coverage when we learn more during WWDC, happening June 5 to June 9. Apart from the smart speaker, Apple is expected to announce iOS 11 and an update to macOS, updates to the MacBook Pro, and possibly something else we didn't expect.
Thoughts about Apple's rumored smart speaker? Do you think it could truly rival devices from Google and Amazon? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!