Apple begins production of its Siri speaker

Jun 01, 2017, 00:43

Apple's long-rumoured Siri smart speaker is already in production, according to a new report by Mark Gurman at Bloomberg. That product was created to more closely resemble a Sonos-like Wifi-connected device without a smart assistant, and was killed by Apple following the acquisition.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg says the device will come without a touchscreen, offer virtual surround sound technology, will allow for Apple Music integration and function as a HomeKit hub. That sounds somewhat similar to the TruePlay feature available from Sonos speakers, which uses a microphone on a mobile device to optimize sound output for that specific environment. A speaker may help keep customers loyal to service products such as Apple Music, a subscription music streaming offering that costs $10 per month. Whether it will be shown at June's World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) is also unclear, but I've got fingers crossed. An Inventec representative didn't respond to a request for comment outside normal business hours in Taiwan.

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With WWDC just around the corner, we're just a few days away from Apple unveiling iOS 11 along with new versions of macOS, tvOS, and watchOS.

Indeed, the company's impetus for producing a smart speaker may be to help it lock users to those paid services. The device, which will take on Amazon Echo and Google Home, will give Siri a physical embodiment within the home. In addition to generating virtual surround sound, the speakers are purportedly louder and more crisp than rival offerings.

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According to a report from CNET, Apple's smart speaker might boast an integrated camera. 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 may also let third-party services build products for its speaker. Users will be able to book an Uber or send WhatsApp messages, the report suggests.

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