01 June, 2017
Apple's smart speaker is reportedly different from (AMZN) Amazon's Echo and Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google Home in that it gives its users virtual surround sound technology and further integration with Apple's product lineup. 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. While the firm will announce its usual updates to its operating systems, it might also announce a new standalone Siri-powered speaker, similar to Google's Home, Amazon's Echo, and Harman Kardon's Cortana-powered Invoke.
The sources say the speaker will be louder and "reproduce sound more crisply" than the Echo and Google Home, neither of which are too hot as standalone speakers.
As for how Apple's offering might differ from existing smart speakers already on the market, there are rumblings that the device will feature a touchscreen, a design that Apple executive Phil Schiller arguably confirmed just earlier this month during an interview. The Siri speaker reached an advanced prototype stage late previous year, Bloomberg News reported at the time. It will of course be able to control devices via Apple HomeKit and allow users to access Apple services such as Apple Music. An Inventec representative didn't respond to a request for comment outside normal business hours in Taiwan. The event will be held in San Jose from June 5 through June 9.
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The smart speaker is being tested by Apple employees at their own homes, according to the reports. Apple is testing speakers that generate virtual surround sound, greater volume and crisper sound than rival products.
Other tidbits from the report include the reality that Apple has been working on this product for a long time. The company also considered including sensors that would measure a room's acoustics and automatically adjust audio levels.
In addition to controlling HomeKit-compatible third-party smart devices, Apple will reportedly also let third-party developers create voice functions for the speaker.