You may already have Apple's Amazon Echo competitor

Apple TV
Apple TV

Last week's unveiling of Google Home, a smart device that embeds an artificial intelligence inside of a speaker, has left many wondering when Apple will announce an Amazon Echo clone of its own.

Well, if one source close to VentureBeat is right, that device is already in the homes of hundreds of thousands of people already.

"They want Apple TV to be just the hub of everything," the source told VentureBeat. They being the executives at the aforementioned Cupertino company.

What the source is unclear about, however, is whether the Apple TV in question, the one that can answer inquiries, map out your daily schedule and play music on command, is new hardware or an update that's coming to the existing streaming device.

While we were expecting some sort of smart home device to be shown off at the company's upcoming WWDC 2016 keynote, integrating Siri into Apple TV is a move that makes sense.

Apple has brought several software updates to tvOS over the last few months, many of which have greatly expanded Siri's functionality allowing her to search the App Store alongside the Movie and TV storefronts.

Admittedly, Apple might be better off developing a stand-alone device, similar to the Echo and Home. Obviously, the microphone inside the remote would allow users to call upon Siri when they're holding it, but that's a far more limited ability than the Echo and Home which can be voice-activated from anywhere in the room.

A successor to the Apple TV seems a bit … preemptive, as the latest hardware iteration doesn't feel anywhere close to complete yet. Also, while Apple's phones might be on the annual release schedule, the Apple TV has historically needed to wait two or three years between iterations.

Still, maybe this is what Apple had planned all along. By integrating a microphone into the remote, Apple has given itself a wealth of potential new features that could come via software updates.

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.