Reports claim the Cupertino-based firm may also use the event to introduce a smart home speaker featuring its virtual assistant Siri, created to compete with the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Along with generating virtual surround sound, the speakers being tested are louder and reproduce sound more crisply than rival offerings, the people said. As a result, the product will be able to turn on or turn off Apple's HomeKit devices with a verbal command from the user.
Although the subject of much speculation, Apple as yet to offer any official comment on its rumoured smart speaker.
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As the name implies, the speaker would be controlled by Apple's Siri assistant, ostensibly granting a similar level of functionality as you'd have on an iPhone. These speculative reports also indicate that Apple's product may not come with a screen, unlike the Amazon Echo which sports a 7inch wide screen. Google and Amazon do not exactly support Apple products, so that's a huge win, but Andy Rubin's Essential Home is all for interoperability and can one day frame the future of electronic devices. It is now being reported that the speaker can potentially be debuted at Cupertino's annual WWDC'17 (Worldwide Developers Conference), which kicks off the coming Monday. Furthermore, the speaker can double up as a Homekit hub enabling users to remotely control smart home appliances such as window blinds, door locks and indoor lights. KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had predicted earlier last month that Apple would be announcing a smart speaker along with a new iPad during the WWDC 2017.
Note that this is not the same as what Amazon or Google are offering developers. We'll be there live from the keynote bringing you the latest news from Apple's annual developer event. While the Amazon Echo and Google Home can play music, they aren't considered to be high-quality speakers, so Apple could use improved sound quality as a differentiator since many folks use these speakers in places like the kitchen. That's something Sonos has attempted with its Trueplay system, though that relies on analyzing the room with a wirelessly-connected iPhone rather than microphones and such built into its streaming speakers.