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Apple employees are testing a smart Siri speaker at home: Report

If launched, Apple’s Siri speaker will compete with the likes of Amazon Echo, Invoke, and Google Home.

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Too late or not, Apple is apparently joining the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and the recent Microsoft Invoke league soon. While Amazon just launched the fifth edition of its Echo device, Apple is reportedly testing a new product called “Siri speaker”.

According to a report on Bloomberg, for several months now, some Apple employees have been testing a product at their homes, which is meant to compete with Amazon Echo. Last September, the same publication had reported that Apple engineers had begun in-home testing of a prototype device. A public unveiling could come at next month’s WWDC keynote.

Although Apple has managed to avoid any significant leaks about the purported product’s features or design, it’s believed that, similar to Amazon Echo, the device will be designed to control appliances, locks, lights and curtains via voice activation. Like the Echo devices are powered by Alexa, Apple’s would naturally be powered by its own Siri digital assistant. Although, it is important to note that the same report points out that “Apple hasn’t finalized plans for the device and could still scrap the project.”

Further, considering that the Apple does launch the device at WWDC 2017, which would follow the Amazon Echo Show’s release just a month later, there is no news if the purported Siri speaker would feature a touch screen display and camera as well, or would it instead focus just on audio like the older Echo speaker or Google Home. RELATED: Apple WWDC 2017 to kick off on June 5 at 10:30PM IST; here’s everything you need to know

Although, in an interview with Gadgets 360, Apple VP Phil Schiller recently emphasized the value of consumer gadgets with a screen, now we can’t say for sure, but he could be hinting at the Siri speaker too. “The idea of not having a screen, I don’t think suits many situations,” he said.

He then cited some examples of that value, he said voice-only assistants can’t show you photos being shared on social media. If you’re asking for directions, you’ll hear them, but can’t see a map. “I think voice assistants are incredibly powerful. Their intelligence is going to grow. They’re gonna do more for us, but the role of the screen is gonna remain very important to all of this,” he said. ALSO READ: Confused what to wear? Amazon’s new Echo Look camera can help you

Just last week, Harman Kardon announced Invoke, a Cortana-enabled Amazon Echo competitor, which was also the first of its kind. Similar to Echo, the Invoke offers a 360-degree speakers, Skype calling, and smart home control all through voice commands. Design-wise, the Invoke strongly resembles Amazon’s Echo, that it’s meant to compete with; both offer a similar cylindrical aluminum shape, light ring, and a seven-microphone array. ALSO READ: Microsoft Build 2017 Live: After Harman Kardon, HP, Intel join the league of Cortana-powered devices

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  • Published Date: May 12, 2017 1:47 PM IST