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When the Scoops Run Dry

800-word report for Bloomberg by Mark Gurman and Alex Webb on Apple’s long-rumored Siri speaker product, with one sentence of actual news:

The iPhone-maker has started manufacturing a long-in-the-works Siri-controlled smart speaker, according to people familiar with the matter.

Seriously, that’s about it for news about the product.

Next sentence:

Apple could debut the speaker as soon as its annual developer conference in June, but the device will not be ready to ship until later in the year, the people said.

The keynote is five days away and Gurman and Webb don’t know if it’s going to be announced.

The device will differ from Amazon.com Inc.’s Echo and Alphabet Inc.’s Google Home speakers by offering virtual surround sound technology and deep integration with Apple’s product lineup, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss products that aren’t yet public.

The “virtual surround sound” feature is arguably news, but there’s not one word about what “virtual surround sound” means. They could have at least linked to Wikipedia. And Ming-Chi Kuo had a report with details of the device’s “excellent acoustics performance (one woofer + seven tweeters)” a month ago.

Gurman and Webb:

Inventec Corp., the Taipei manufacturer that already makes the AirPod wireless headphones, will add the speaker to its Apple repertoire, the people said. Apple employees have been secretly testing the device in their homes for several months, they said. The Siri speaker reached an advanced prototype stage late last year, Bloomberg News reported at the time.

What does it look like? How big is it? Does it have a display? Crickets.

[Update: I missed this sentence at the end of Gurman and Webb’s report: “Apple’s speaker won’t include such a screen, according to people who have seen the product.” That sets up a delicious claim chowder standoff with Ming-Chi Kuo, who wrote two weeks ago, “We also believe this new product will come with a touch panel.”]

Apple has also considered including sensors that measure a room’s acoustics and automatically adjust audio levels during use, one of the people said.

What did Apple decide about those sensors? If the device is in manufacturing, and the device might be announced in five days, one presumes Apple has made that decision, no? Crickets.

Apple’s long-rumored Siri-driven HomeKit speaker hub has entered manufacturing in Taipei” — there’s a 13-word summary with all the actual news in this story. I like Mark Gurman, but it’s painful to see these meager stale morsels stretched into feature articles.

AirPods — now that was a scoop. Nine months before Apple unveiled them, Gurman had an accurate description of how they worked, the charging case, and even had the “AirPods” name (albeit with a “which may be what these are called” caveat, and with the wrong assumption that AirPods would be Beats-branded rather than Apple-branded). With this Siri speaker dingus, he’s a month behind and has far fewer details than either Ming-Chi Kuo or Sonny Dickson.

The closer we get to the WWDC keynote, the more likely things are to get spoiled. But here we are 5 days out and no one has leaked just about anything about iOS 11 or MacOS 10.13, or what’s going on with this 10.5-inch iPad Pro, or if there’s anything new coming for WatchOS or tvOS. Again, there’s a lot of time between now and Monday morning, but it might be time to give Tim Cook credit for “doubling down on secrecy”.