Apple is reportedly making progress on its Siri-powered Amazon Echo competitor

Amazon Echo Dot
Greg Mombert/Digital Trends
In May, reports surfaced that Apple was working on a Siri-powered speaker similar to Amazon’s Echo. Not much was known at the time, and the ever-tight-lipped company has made no announcements regarding such a product, but it seems that the device may have moved out of the idea phase and into real-world testing at the company, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Apple has reportedly been at work on the project for more than two years at this point, and it has finally moved from research and development into prototype testing, according to Bloomberg’s anonymous sources. The device is still far from finished, and could still end up on the scrap heap, but current functionality is said to be very similar to the Amazon Echo, enabling the user’s voice to control smart home features.

That doesn’t mean the device is a simple clone: Apple is aiming to include more advanced microphone and speaker technology, giving it a leg up on the competition. As previously reported, some of the prototypes also include facial recognition sensors. In addition to all-new functionality, the device is planned to include much of the functionality currently available via Siri on iOS and MacOS.

These prototypes aren’t only being tested in the Apple offices, the sources said. Engineers are testing the prototypes in their homes, which makes sense given the smart home-focused feature set. This is no indication of when or if a product based on these prototypes might go on sale, but in the past, Tim Cook was said to have used the iPad at home for roughly six months before it was announced, while engineers tested the latest tvOS-powered Apple TV in their homes for around a year before it went on sale.

Whether third parties are going to have a presence on this device still remains to be seen. When rumors of its existence first began to bubble up, a more open Siri platform was said to be key. Apple did indeed open Siri up to third-party developers at this year’s WWDC, but use cases are currently fairly limited.

Strangely, Apple’s initial aim for this new device wasn’t for it to be a device at all. Originally, much of this functionality was planned for the Apple TV, before eventually being spun out into a project of its own. This may have remained the case if not for the Echo and similar devices, but a set-top box isn’t a perfect fit for much of these features, so the decision to go for a standalone device makes a fair amount of sense.

As mentioned above, Apple is staying silent with regard to any plans, but the company has been increasing focused on HomeKit, finally giving it home screen prominence in iOS 10, so this very well could be Apple’s next big thing at some point.


The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Home Theater

These top-line smart speakers conduct the most sophisticated symphony: Your life

Stuck talking to yourself? Get an A.I. assistant to keep you company! Whether you put your stock in Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri, we've picked out the best smart speaker for any smart home ecosystem.

Apple's iOS 12.1.1 makes it easier to switch cameras in FaceTime

After months of betas, the final version of iOS 12 is here to download. The latest OS comes along with tons of new capabilities, from grouped notifications to Siri Shortcuts. Here are all the features you'll find in iOS 12.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

Kill your cable and switch to streaming with our painless guide

If you're going to quit cable or satellite for a streaming TV solution, you're going to want to get it right the first time. We've outlined exactly how to get started, step by step. Follow our lead, and you'll never look back.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Home Theater

Vizio is still rocking the Black Friday spirit with these TV and soundbar deals

If you missed out on all the great TV deals this past Black Friday and Cyber Monday, don't worry, Vizio has you covered. The company has some great discounts on its most popular 4K TVs and sounbar systems. But don't delay -- some of these…
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.

Choosing one of these smart TVs under $300 will make you look like a genius

Buying a good cheap smart TV is easier than ever. To help you out, we've sniffed out a half dozen of the best models out there with prices starting at just $130. We've even thrown in a couple 4K smart TVs, with these UHD models still…
Home Theater

What’s new on Netflix and what’s leaving in January 2019

Our complete list of what's new on Netflix for January 2019 and which titles will be removed will help you catch up on your bingeing, and also ensure you don't miss any titles heading into the streaming ether.
Movies & TV

Our first look at 'The Punisher' season 2 hints at January 2019 premiere

The Punisher is getting a second season on Netflix, with Jon Bernthal returning to play Marvel Comics' gun-toting antihero, Frank Castle. Here's everything we know about season 2 of The Punisher so far.
Home Theater

Common AirPods problems, and how to fix them

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.
Home Theater

Anker’s micro projectors get an equally small price in time for the holidays

Looking for a great deal on a tiny video projector? Anker has some tiny prices on three of their smallest devices. With features like Android 7.1 and designs as small as a can of soda, these projectors make the perfect travel companions.

Spotify is the best streaming service, but its competitors aren’t far behind

It can be hard to decide which music streaming service is for you, so we've picked out the individual strengths of the most popular services, aiming to make your decision a little easier.