Published: Thu, June 01, 2017
Industry | By Faith Ward

Apple Inc. (AAPL) Planning To Launch Siri Speaker Soon

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.

Meanwhile, shares of Apple Inc. While the firm will announce its usual updates to its operating systems, it might also announce a new standalone Siri-powered speaker, similar to Google's Home, Amazon's Echo, and Harman Kardon's Cortana-powered Invoke. The speaker would likely be tucked into Apple's "Other Products" category, which now includes devices like the Apple Watch, Apple TV and AirPods. For instance, Bloomberg reports, one of the company's focuses has been improving audio quality over Echo and Google Home. A speaker may help keep customers loyal to service products such as Apple Music, a subscription music streaming offering that costs $10 per month.

Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller said earlier in May that voice-control devices often need a screen.

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Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Many interpreted that as an indication that Apple was planning to introduce its long-awaited entry to the home automation control market with a device that had a display.

Apple's WWDC keynote is coming up quickly; the event is happening this Monday starting at 10AM PT/1PM ET. That includes virtual surround sound, in addition to speakers that are both louder and that "reproduce sound more crisply" than what's already on the market. Unfortunately for those that want to get their hands on such a speaker, it won't ship until later on this year. During the conference, Apple provides developers with new software development kits (SDKs) used to build new apps and services for upcoming software releases. 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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