Apple is working on a Siri-based smart home device that would rival Amazon’s Echo speaker, and the project has now entered the prototype phase, according to a new report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.
The report notes that, while Apple hasn’t finalised plans for the device, Apple engineers are currently testing it in their homes.
The Information’s Amir Efrati first reported in May that Apple was working on a Siri- and voice-based smart home device to rival the Echo, which has been a surprise hit for Amazon over the past year or so.
If it comes to pass, the report says, the device would use the company’s AI assistant to control smart home appliances, read back emails, send texts, and stream Apple Music content.
That sounds awfully similar to everything the Echo does today, but Bloomberg says Apple will try to separate the device with “more advanced” microphones and speakers. The report also speculates the device could also tap into facial recognition tech to make the device act differently “based on who is in a room or a person’s emotional state.”
Alphabet is working on an Echo-like speaker, too, called the Home. That’s expected to launch at a San Francisco press event on October 4.
Beyond the smart home device, Bloomberg says Apple is working on an initiative that would make it possible to “fully control” an iPhone or iPad through Siri commands, without having to specifically activate the assistant. Apple is reportedly hoping to make this possible within three years.
Whatever the case, given how much attention Apple has paid to Siri in its most recent iOS and macOS updates, it seems clear that the company plans to make the assistant an even bigger part of its plans going forward.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.