Apple is developing an Echo-like smart-home device based on the Siri voice assistant, according to a Bloomberg report.
The project has exited the research and development lab and is now in prototype testing, the report says. Like Amazon’s Echo, the device is designed to control appliances, locks, lights and curtains via voice activation.
Meanwhile, Alphabet is working on its own device, Google Home. Besides taking on the competition, Apple is looking for a new hot seller to augment the iPhone.
Apple's device will not be similar with Echo and Google Home, as it will offer more advanced microphone and speaker technology, Bloomberg's unnamed sources said. Some of the prototypes in testing include facial recognition sensors. Besides serving as a controller for other smart-home devices, the speaker would be able to process many of the Siri commands available on the iPhone. Apple has also considered integrating mapping information into the speaker, potentially allowing the device to notify a user when it’s time to leave the house for an appointment.
Apple declined to comment.
Apple launched HomeKit in 2014, which allows third-party smart-home accessory makers to integrate with Siri.