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Apple Started Manufacturing Amazon Echo Competitor (Report)

Variety logo Variety 5/31/2017 Janko Roettgers
© Provided by Variety

Apple has started to manufacture a smart, internet-connected speaker with the aim to take on Amazon’s Echo and Google Home, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. The speaker could be unveiled as early as next week at the company’s WWDC conference, but may not ship until later this year.

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple’s speaker is going to use the company’s Siri assistant, and will be capable of controlling internet-connected appliances through Apple’s HomeKit platform, according to the report. The device will reportedly also offer simulated surround sound.

There have been reports for some time that Apple may be ready to enter the smart speaker space, a market that has thus far been dominated by Amazon and its Alexa assistant. The company has been dabbling more actively in the audio space ever since it acquired Beats in 2014.

In fact, Beats was already working on an internet-connected speaker when the company got acquired by Apple. That product was designed to more closely resemble a Sonos-like Wifi-connected device without a smart assistant, and was killed by Apple following the acquisition. Variety was first to report about that project in 2015.

Apple has invited developers to its annual WWDC conference next week, where it is expected to also introduce new versions of iOS and OS X. However, industry sources have told Variety that the company likely won’t show off a new version of its Apple TV device until later this year.

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