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Apple is said to be "currently finalizing" designs for its long-rumored Amazon Echo competitor, featuring support for Siri and AirPlay and boasting Beats technology, a well-known leak source claimed on Thursday.
The product is "expected to be marketed as a Siri/AirPlay device," Sonny Dickson said on Twitter . He also noted that it should use some form of Beats technology, and run a variant of iOS.
Dickson didn't go into further details, but has been accurate about some predictions in the past, such as iOS 10's revamped lockscreen interface.
A February report citing talks with unnamed Apple executives claimed that Apple had "no apparent interest" in developing an Echo competitor, despite earlier rumors to the contrary.
The Echo speaker — based on Amazon's Alexa voice assistant — has proven a surprise hit, such that Alexa is quickly migrating to other devices like phones and set-tops. Ecobee's next HomeKit-enabled thermostat, the Ecobee4, is expected to have Alexa built in.
An Apple version of the Echo concept would ensure that Siri isn't relegated into the sidelines among voice assistants, another rival being Google Assistant, found on devices like the Google Home.
AirPlay support would presumably let people push music, radio, and podcasts to the Apple hardware over Wi-Fi, which typically offers better quality than Bluetooth.
It's not clear when the product would ship. Apple is, however, set to show off new technologies at its Worldwide Developers Conference June 5 through 9, and the company may yet have enough time to premiere a Siri speaker there with over a month to go for preparations.