Early rumors suggested that Apple’s Siri-powered Amazon Echo competitor was going to be unveiled during WWDC. That seems to have been very premature, however. A new report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reveals new information on the speaker, and suggests that it’s still in its infancy.
Bloomberg said the Siri speaker has graduated from the Research and Development phase of the product cycle and is now considered an official prototype. The Siri speaker will reportedly tap into Apple Home and HomeKit-powered devices, such as appliances and light bulbs. The Amazon Echo is capable of working with smart devices, too, with thousands of third-party applications already supporting the platform.
Apple may add some stand-out features, however. “Some of the prototypes in testing include facial recognition sensors,” Bloomberg explained. That may make the device more personal, but it also seems to change the use case. Rarely am I ever actually in front of the Amazon Echo I’m trying to control. Most of the time I just shout across the room.
Gurman said Apple’s employees, perhaps the top-tier engineers on the project, are already using the new Siri speaker prototypes at home. To Gurman, this suggests the device may launch somewhere in the next six months to a year, given that other products were tested “at home” about that far before launch.