“Apple’s long-rumored answer to the Amazon Echo smart speaker is now being tested in secret in the homes of Apple engineers, Bloomberg reports,” Ry Crist reports for CNET. “The report, which cites sources familiar with the matter, also says that the device includes built-in cameras capable of distinguishing between users and even detecting their emotions, which would corroborate a CNET report from​ earlier this year.”

“Apple’s device would obviously feature Siri, and Bloomberg reports that the Cupertino company is hard at work on improving her conversational intelligence to fill a larger role in the home,” Crist reports. “Dedicated voice controls for Apple Music and for devices designed to work with HomeKit, Apple’s smart home platform, both seem like very safe bets.”

Crist reports, “If the cameras end up making the final cut, they could help to differentiate the device from the Echo and from the Google Home, another smart home speaker currently making its way to retail.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It had better have some stark, plainly obvious differentiation or Apple will get reamed even more than usual by the general tech media.

Apple’s Siri-powered Amazon Echo-like device reportedly now in prototype testing – September 23, 2016
Why an ‘Apple Echo’ would be a hit – June 15, 2016
New Apple TV to take on Amazon’s Echo, source says – May 26, 2016
Apple preps Amazon Echo rival, opening up Siri – May 24, 2016
Apple should make a stationary voice command device like Amazon’s Echo – May 19, 2016
Google unveils its Amazon Echo knockoff called ‘Google Home’ – May 18, 2016
Where’s Apple’s answer to Amazon Echo? – March 31, 2016
Amazon Echo leads mindshare in smart home platform war – February 29, 2016
Why did Apple buy a startup whose tech can read emotions via facial recognition?/a> – January 7, 2016
Apple buys Emotient, maker of artificial-intelligence tech that reads emotion by analyzing facial expressions – January 7, 2016