The Cupertino, California-based company has started manufacturing the device, “people familiar with the matter” told Bloomberg this week, and it could be shown off during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference which kicks off in San Jose, California, on June 5.
However, anyone keen to get their hands on the Siri-controlled smart speaker may have to exercise some patience, as the sources said it won’t be ready to ship until “later in the year.”
This latest news comes just a few weeks after a report from the same media outlet claimed Apple engineers were already testing the speaker out in their own homes, putting it through its paces in a bid to perfect its design, though an “advanced prototype” of the device was apparently ready “late last year.”
Notably, Bloomberg’s sources claim the speaker won’t include a display, setting it apart from Amazon’s recently launched Echo Show speaker that offers extra functionality via its 7-inch color touchscreen.
But apparently it’s under the hood that Apple hopes to really score points, with “more advanced acoustics technology” enabling “virtual surround sound” that’s more powerful and crisper than that offered by rival devices. It may also have built-in sensors that measure a room’s acoustics and adjust the audio accordingly for the best possible sound.
Aiming to weave customers more tightly into the Apple ecosystem, the expected speaker will act as a hub compatible with Apple’s HomeKit platform, enabling users to control home appliances through voice commands. You should also be able to call out questions for Siri to answer, and issue commands such as song requests from your music library or Apple Music to play through the speaker. Further functionality will be possible thanks to Apple’s move last year to finally open Siri to third-party developers.
With talk of an unveil for the speaker at next week’s WWDC, together with rumors of product launches for upgraded MacBooks and a number of new iPads, the event could be the most hardware-focused WWDC in several years. Be sure to check back for all the news from Apple’s much-anticipated event from Monday.
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