One new device, two years in the making, is claimed to control appliances, locks, lights and curtains via voice activation, and in many quarters is being seen as an answer to Amazon's Echo hands-free music device, pictured.
Echo has apparently been a surprise hit. Meanwhile, Google parent Alphabet is said to be working on its own device, Google Home.
Apple is attempting to differentiate itself from Echo and Google Home with some prototypes including facial recognition sensors. Apple has acquired the facial recognition start-ups Faceshift and Emotient over the past two years.
Besides serving as a controller for other smart-home devices, the speaker would theoretically be able to process many Siri commands available on the iPhone or Mac. For example, users may be able to ask the device to read e-mails, send text messages and Tweets, and stream content from Apple Music.