Apple’s begun manufacturing its Siri speaker ahead of WWDC

Apple has started manufacturing its Siri speaker ahead of the WWDC keynote next week.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has learned from people familiar with the matter that the new smart home appliance won’t be ready to ship until later in the year. However, Apple could debut the gadget during next Monday’s keynote presentation at WWDC.

People who have seen it told Bloomberg that the product won’t have a touchscreen, unlike what KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo speculated.

Taipei-based AirPods manufacturer Inventec has been tapped as the sole manufacturer of the Siri speaker. Bloomberg previously reported that Apple employees have been secretly testing the device in their homes for several months.

The forthcoming Siri gadget reached an advanced prototype stage late last year.

Apple is reportedly seeking to differentiate the Siri speaker from Amazon Echo and Google Home by offering virtual surround sound technology, Apple Music and other integrations.

The Siri speaker would also act as a HomeKit hub to let users remotely control smart home appliances such as lights, door locks and window blinds, a feature that currently requires either a fourth-generation Apple TV or an iPad.

Here’s an excerpt form the article:

Along with generating virtual surround sound, the speakers being tested are louder and reproduce sound more crisply than rival offerings, sources in the know said.

Apple has also considered including sensors that measure a room’s acoustics and automatically adjust audio levels during use, one of the people said.

“This will be a platform for developing Apple’s services,” says Gene Munster of Loup Ventures.

Gurman speculated the Siri device could be tucked into Apple’s $11 billion “Other Products” category along with other devices like Apple Watch, Apple TV, AirPods and Beats accessories.

Apple declined to comment.

Siri speaker mockup via iFunnyVlogger on Twitter.