Apple's Siri-powered smart speaker will reportedly debut next month

The report says that a WWDC unveiling for the product remains possible, but Apple won't be shipping the device until later in the year. 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.

Bloomberg reports the device will have "virtual surround sound", with better sound quality than its closest competitors, Amazon Echo or Google Home. The Siri speaker reached an advanced prototype stage late a year ago, Bloomberg News reported at the time. A speaker may help keep customers loyal to service products such as Apple Music, a subscription music streaming offering that costs $10 per month. According to Bloomberg, manufacturing of the device has already begun, with Inventec building it for Apple. Apple is said to be planning to allow third-party companies to develop their own services for the Siri speaker, though it will face a long catch-up process behind Alexa and the Google Assistant. However, the speaker may not be ready to ship to consumers until later in 2017.

The smart speaker space is heating up, with Amazon and Google already on the market and Essential coming soon.


Apple didn't respond to request for comment.

If there's one area where Apple Inc. Apple last updated the 9.7-inch iPad Pro in March 2016 and hasn't refreshed the larger 12.9-inch model since its November 2015 debut.

Apple hopes that more advanced acoustics technology will give the speaker an edge over competitors, according to people with knowledge of the product's development. The iPhone seller also reportedly has considered including sensors that measure the environment's acoustics and automatically adjust audio levels. CEO Tim Cook has recently touted Apple's online services business, which also includes iCloud and its App Store, as a growth engine for the company. Users will be able to book an Uber or send WhatsApp messages, the report suggests.

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