It seems like Apple's one step closer to releasing its Amazon Echo-style smart speaker, with a new report saying that the device in question is already in some homes of Apple employees.
The smart device, which is rumored to include an always-listening speaker and built-in Siri, was detailed by Apple insiders to Bloomberg Technology who said that the technology will also likely include a camera and facial recognition software.
The software, the insiders say, will not only be able to recognize who's in a room, but also what their current emotional state is. Bloomberg Technology corroborates the feature, pointing to Apple's recent acquisitions of facial recognition startups Faceshift and Emotient.
Like the Amazon Echo series of products and the upcoming Google Home, Apple's take on the smart speaker would theoretically allow you to control smart home devices that have been approved by the Cupertino company and sport the HomeKit-approved seal.
Admittedly, there's a good chance these claims are true. Apple's recently made a large push for HomeKit in the latest iOS 10 software and has been ramping up the approval process for HomeKit products, both of which suggest something large is coming in that area.
However, the Apple product in question could face stiff competition from Amazon, who just released a new, cheaper version of the Amazon Echo Dot, and Google, who is expected to reveal the release date and pricing of its Home speaker at its upcoming October 4 press event.
This is Apple TV vs Chromecast vs Amazon Fire TV all over again.