The iPhone-maker has started manufacturing a long-in-the-works Siri-controlled smart speaker, according to people familiar with the matter. Apple could debut the speaker as soon as its annual developer conference in June, but the device will not be ready to ship until later in the year, the people said.
The Siri speaker will allegedly differentiate itself from the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices by offering virtual surround sound technology and deep integration with the Apple ecosystem. It will of course be able to control devices via Apple HomeKit and allow users to access Apple services such as Apple Music.
As we previously reported, Inventec is said to have landed orders for the new speaker which reached an advanced prototype stage late last year.
Sources say Apple employees have been testing the speaker in their homes for several months. In addition to generating virtual surround sound, the speakers are purportedly louder and more crisp than rival offerings. The company also considered including sensors that would measure a room's acoustics and automatically adjust audio levels.
Notably, while Apple has questioned the utility of such a device without a screen and rival Amazon has just launched its Echo Show, Apple's speaker will not have a display, according to people who have seen it.
Apple is also expected to unveil new MacBooks, new iPads, and a new Magic Keyboard at WWDC.
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