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Ahead of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference next week, a report from Bloomberg suggest the company could announce a long-rumored, Siri-controlled smart speaker. “People familiar with the matter” told Bloomberg that the device could be revealed as early as WWDC, but likely would not ship until later this year.
Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home, both of which are vessels for each company’s virtual assistant. Sources say Apple has been developing the speaker to be louder than its competition and to produce crisper sound overall. The device may also include “sensors that measure a room’s acoustics and automatically adjust audio levels during use.”
In addition to keeping up with Amazon and Google, a Siri-controlled speaker would also likely serve as a smart home hub for Apple HomeKit products. Currently only Apple TVs and iPads can fully control HomeKit lights, door locks, and other devices, so a home-based speaker would be a logical addition to a household already equipped with HomeKit products.
The Bloomberg report also suggests a smart speaker from Apple could encourage loyal Apple Music subscribers to stick with the service. In the wake of slowing iPhone sales, services like Apple Music, which costs users $10 per month, have become more important to Apple. Neither Amazon Echo or Google Home officially support Apple Music, so this speaker would be the only at-home smart speaker that Apple Music subscribers could use to access their streamable music.
touchscreen-equipped Echo Show that can make voice and video calls. Sources told Bloomberg that Apple’s device won’t have a display, so it may look more akin to the original Echo or Google Home. At $129, Google’s device undercut Amazon’s speaker on price when it first debuted, but there’s no word on how much Apple’s smart speaker could cost at launch.