It’s looking increasingly likely that we’ll see a brand new product line from Apple very soon

Industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has filed a report predicting that Apple will launch a new Siri-powered smart speaker this year, to compete with the increasingly popular Amazon Echo. A Siri speaker has been rumored for a while, with Apple thus far ignoring the burgeoning new market. Kuo expects a “more than 50%” chance that the new product will be announced at Apple’s big WWDC event next month.

It’s expected to be a standalone speaker with excellent sound quality, which will tie together many existing Apple services and provide a hub for smart gadgets as well as music playing. It will be operated by Siri – there’s no suggestion of a screen – with the report indicating Apple would pitch this as a more premium product than existing smart speakers like the Echo or Google Home. At this point the market is perhaps too big to ignore, and Apple could perhaps storm in late to the party with a design that trumps the competition. You know, like it did with the iPod, the iPhone, and the Apple Watch.

Unlike your usual rumor-mongers, Kuo has an impressive track record at predicting Apple’s moves. We wouldn’t be at all surprised to see this one come to fruition. His report is a little flaky on some of the details, though he expects a launch in the second half of 2017. More details over at 9to5Mac.