With Amazon’s Echo smart speakers and with Google’s not-yet-released speakers Home, which it announced at its I/O conference in May, the smart speaker industry is heating up. Not one to miss out, Apple is set to join them and is apparently working on a smart speaker system of its own
According to a new report by Bloomberg, Apple’s smart speaker offering will feature a “more advanced” microphone and speaker system than that of Echo and Home. Moreover, the publication says that some of Apple’s prototypes feature facial recognition, building on the company’s recent acquisitions of (facial recognition companies) Faceshift and Emotient.
Although Apple’s smart speakers are “designed to control appliances, locks, lights and curtains via voice activation,” writes Bloomberg, Siri integration could also be a big selling point. “Theoretically,” users could ask the speakers to read emails, tweets, play streamed content from Apple Music, send text messages and even give them reminders about when to leave for appointments.
As for when Apple will officially debut its smart speakers, this information is currently up in the air. Bloomberg notes that although Apple’s engineers are already testing the prototypes at their own homes and despite Apple being eager to find a new product line to boost its revenue, plans for the speakers have not been “finalized” and the project could still be scrapped.
The publication also details that Apple has been toying with the idea of smart speakers since the 2014 launch of HomeKit “but those early efforts may not translate into a final product.” The company may also want to take its time in approaching how to compete with Amazon and Google and so a formal announcement of the speaker device could still be a long way off.