Apple expected to debut new Internet-connected speaker at developers conference – Los Angeles Times

Apple appears poised to unveil a voice-activated, Internet-connected speaker that would create a new digital pipeline into people’s homes.

Tapping Apple’s Siri digital assistant, such a speaker is expected to serve as a butler as well as an outlet for listening to music. If the speculation pans out, the speaker would be Apple’s first new product since its smartwatch in 2015. And it would mark an effort by Apple to catch up with Amazon and Google.

An early glimpse at updates to iPhone and Mac software has become a tradition at Apple’s annual conference for app developers, which begins Monday in San Jose. But Apple occasionally also uses the event to introduce new devices and services and upgrades to existing products.

Amazon introduced the Echo speaker, featuring its Alexa assistant, in 2015. Google followed with its Home speaker, featuring its plain-named Assistant, last year. Both speakers can respond to voice requests for the news, weather and tasks such as turning on the lights.

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