• Amazon Echo Speaker

Amazon Echo Speaker (Photo : Twitter)

Apple is reportedly working on a Siri-powered smart speaker that would take on Amazon Echo and Google Home. The tech giant also has plans to open the voice assistant to third-party apps. The Internet of Things (IoT) device seems to be a long-term project while the Siri software development kit (SDK) would likely be released first.

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This news was reported by The Information on May 24, Tuesday. It is possible the Siri SDK could be launched as soon as June during Apple's yearly Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

Some third-party companies such as Yelp have accessed Siri through deals with the tech giant. However, a SDK would allow any developer to use the digital assistant for building apps.

The report states that Apple ironically started developing a Siri speaker a long time before Echo was rolled out, according to The Verge. Its smart speaker would include many features. They include switching on/off appliances in smart homes supported by Apple's HomeKit platform.  

The Echo-like speaker would also do tasks now done by automated bots. This would make Siri much more powerful and not be limited to Apple features such as sending texts and setting alarms.

The Internet of Things (IoT) device would not just be useful for home speakers and iPhones. It is likely Apple will launch Siri to Mac computers this year.

Last week Google announced a new artificial intelligence (AI) assistant named Google Assistant at its I/O developer conference. It will take on Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana, and Amazon's Alexa.

Siri has one major advantage over Alexa. It is multi-lingual while Amazon's voice assistant is English-only.   

However, part of Amazon Echo's success is due to Alexa being able to connect to third-party apps. It allows smart speaker owners to do many tasks. They include ordering a taxi from Uber's ride-sharing service.

In related news, open-source electronic manufacturer Arduino announced new hardware "boards" at last weekend's Bay Area Maker Faire, according to Quartz It allows DIY fans to access Google's and Amazon's voice-recognition services.

Amazon has also released a blueprint and code to build a $60 version of its Echo speaker. It requires an open-source credit card-sized Raspberry Pi board. 

Here's Google Home smart speaker: