Rumor: Apple’s Amazon Echo competitor will be a ‘self-aware smart speaker’

I’m about to give you the latest speculation on the rumored Apple Siri-based speaker system. Get you pad and pencil ready; you’ll need to take notes to keep the rumors straight.

On Wednesday it was reported that Apple is working on "an Amazon Echo-like device with a speaker and microphone that people can use to turn on music, get news headlines or set a timer” that will be powered by Siri. Yesterday VentureBeat said that such a gadget may come in the form of a refreshed Apple TV, rather than a new hardware product.

Today CNET says that it won’t be a next generation Apple TV, but will be a “smart speaker” that could be "self aware" and detect who’s in a room using facial recognition technology. Quoting unnamed “people familiar with Apple’s plans” says this would let the device automatically pull up a person's preferences, such as the music and lighting they like.

However, CNET hedges its bets by adding that the hardware could be released by year's end, “but it's more likely to be available in 2017.” However, the aforementioned sources “cautioned, though, that Apple could change its plans to include a camera -- or even scrap the device entirely.”

Chances that this rumor is true: 50%. If Apple is planning such a device, I think we’ll see it in time for the holidays.