Apple’s long-rumoured Siri smart speaker is already in production, according to a new report by Mark Gurman at Bloomberg. Citing people familiar with the matter, Gurman lends his weight to recent rumours that Apple may in fact debut the speaker next week at WWDC, although he stops short of declaring that a sure thing, and notes that sources suggest the device will still not be ready to ship until later in the year.
Gurman’s report also provides a few additional insights into Apple’s plans for differentiating the new device from competing Google and Amazon offerings, noting that Apple will naturally offer “deep integration” with its product lineup, as well as focusing more heavily on audio fidelity by offering virtual surround sound technology, providing better sound quality, and possibly even sporting advanced features such as integrated sensors to measure a room’s acoustics and adjust audio settings accordingly. However, the speaker will not feature any kind of touchscreen, according to sources who have seen the actual product.
As expected, the speaker would act as a hub for HomeKit, but it would also serve the additional purpose of tying customers more tightly into the Apple ecosystem, and providing a competitive option to the Amazon Echo and Google Home that supports services such as Apple Music, thereby stemming a potential tide of users who might defect to rival services such as Spotify, Amazon Prime, or Google Play after buying a competing smart speaker. Such a move would line up with Apple’s recent emphasis on its services business over the past year or so. Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated during the past few earnings calls that he expects Apple’s services business to reach the size of a Fortune 100 company within the next few years, offsetting flagging hardware sales.