03.05.17

Apple could launch Siri-powered home speaker next month

iPhone running Siri smart assistant leaning against Amazon Alexa Echo device in the home

Murmurs from California suggest Apple could be preparing to launch its rival to the Amazon Echo and Google home speaker at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.

The 2017 edition of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference runs from June 5 to 9, 2017 in San Jose, California. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst from KGI Securities (and expert on predicting Apple announcements often billed “the most accurate Apple analyst in the world”) there is “over a 50% chance” of Apple’s own wireless speaker for the home being unveiled at the event.

As reported in MacRumors, Kuo states that the speaker will incorporate one woofer and seven tweeters and offer Airplay support for users. In typical Apple fashion, he expects the speaker to come with a higher price tag than its rivals from Amazon and Google when it goes on sale in the second half of 2017.

Kuo is not the first to predict the launch. Recently Apple watcher Sonny Dickson also forecast the debut. Dickson says the top of the device will have a concave design like the Mac Pro desktop computer, with a speaker mesh similar to that found on Logitech’s UE Boom covering most of its surface. He added it will "carry some form of Beats technology" and run a variant of iOS.

CNET claims the device will even have a built-in camera to enable facial recognition for easier integration into home life when controlling smart locks, lights and appliances.

This potentially huge news filtering out of Apple HQ comes as Amazon announced it would be humanising Amazon Alexa with whispers, pauses and emotion ahead of a big announcement regarding the second generation (rumoured to feature a 7-in built-in screen) Echo speaker expected this month.