SAN JOSE, Calif.—Today at WWDC, we finally got a look at Apple's rumored smart home speaker, which has home-assistant features buried beneath a music-first sales pitch.
"We want to reinvent home music," Tim Cook told the Monday WWDC keynote crowd before Apple's Phil Schiller revealed and named the new Apple Homepod. The product will cost $349 and launch in certain territories, including the US, this December.
Ahead of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference next week, a report from Bloomberg suggest the company could announce a long-rumored, Siri-controlled smart speaker. "People familiar with the matter" told Bloomberg that the device could be revealed as early as WWDC, but likely would not ship until later this year.
Details about the speaker are slim, but the report states the Siri-controlled smart speaker will have "virtual surround sound technology" and integration with Apple's existing product lineup. This would be Apple's first device to compete with Amazon's Echo and Google's Home, both of which are vessels for each company's virtual assistant. Sources say Apple has been developing the speaker to be louder than its competition and to produce crisper sound overall. The device may also include "sensors that measure a room’s acoustics and automatically adjust audio levels during use."
In addition to keeping up with Amazon and Google, a Siri-controlled speaker would also likely serve as a smart home hub for Apple HomeKit products. Currently only Apple TVs and iPads can fully control HomeKit lights, door locks, and other devices, so a home-based speaker would be a logical addition to a household already equipped with HomeKit products.