Apple working on an Amazon Echo rival that controls smart homes via Siri
The project began over two years ago and has progressed to the stage of prototype testing. It's able to control appliances, locks, lights, and curtains via voice activation. It's also said to feature advanced microphone and speaker technology, with some prototypes also including facial recognition sensors – possibily developed with Faceshift and Emotient, two startups which Apple acquired in the past two years. The company has also considered adding mapping information – for example, to notify users when it's time to leave the house for an appointment.
With the device now in prototype stage, Apple engineers are supposedly testing it in their homes, which might take from six months to a year, or longer, given its practice of rigorous trials. In the meantime, the company is working on improvements to Siri with hopes of giving users the freedom to fully control their devices via voice commands within the next three years.