Apple's Siri-powered smart speaker will reportedly debut next month

The iPhone-maker has started manufacturing a long-in-the-works Siri-controlled smart speaker, according to people familiar with the matter.

As for how Apple's offering might differ from existing smart speakers already on the market, there are rumblings that the device will feature a touchscreen, a design that Apple executive Phil Schiller arguably confirmed just earlier this month during an interview. It's unclear if the Siri speaker will indeed make its debut at WWDC, potentially significantly ahead of its actual launch, though in some ways the developer audience there does make sense. Along with generating virtual surround sound, the speakers being tested are louder and reproduce sound more crisply than rival offerings, the people said. That product was created to more closely resemble a Sonos-like Wifi-connected device without a smart assistant, and was killed by Apple following the acquisition.

Read the full Bloomberg report. Apple Music isn't now available on Google Home or Amazon Echo - though it can be added as a source to Sonos, which plans to add Echo control later in the year - and could be a key selling point for Apple's own speaker.

Apple didn't respond to request for comment.

This year's developers conference will be the first since 2013 to introduce new hardware.

Additionally, a new Bloomberg report sheds some more light on how Apple may carve out space for itself in a market now dominated by Google and Amazon. Apple hopes to differentiate its version of a common product with better sound quality, and features like virtual surround sound and sensors that are able to measure a room and adjust the acoustics accordingly.

The final piece of the puzzle, of course, is to try and lock users further into Apple's ecosystem of products and services. Last year, Apple opened up Siri on the iPhone to the likes of Uber Technologies Inc. and Facebook Inc., allowing a user to order a ride or send a WhatsApp message with a voice command.

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