Apple makes phones, tablets, computers, headphones, and even easy-to-lose wireless earbuds, but there’s one thing missing. Unlike Google and Amazon, Apple doesn’t sell a smart speaker that also serves as a smart home hub. That’s reportedly about to change, and factories are starting to crank out Apple’s take on the hot products.
Those ever-wise “people with knowledge of the matter” told Bloomberg News that the speaker is coming, and is made by Inventec, which also makes AirPods.
While the speakers wouldn’t go on sale until later this year, they could be announced in June at Apple’s developers’ conference.
According to the sources, the speakers are powered by the Siri virtual assistant that’s available on Apple’s phones, tablets, and computers. 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.
It would also help make Apple’s HomeKit smart home software more useful, since users now have to coordinate their devices with an AppleTV or an iPad.
In addition to controlling HomeKit-compatible third-party smart devices, Apple will reportedly also let third-party developers create voice functions for the speaker. Last year, Apple began preparing for this by letting developers in to use Siri and make iOS voice commands do something useful.
If the unnamed speaker does launch in June, it would be the first new piece of hardware announced at Apple’s WWDC since 2013, when the cylindrical Mac Pro was introduced.