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iSpy? Apple’s Amazon Echo rival could feature a face-tracking camera 

Apple’s rumoured Siri speaker could feature a facial recognition camera, according to a new report.

Apple has “explored” embedding a camera into its mooted smart speaker – a possible rival to Google Home and Amazon Echo – that would be able to identify and track who’s in the room at any given time. That’s according to a new Cnet report that cites anonymous sources.

“The device would be ‘self aware’ and detect who is in the room using facial recognition technology,” the report reads. “That would let the device automatically pull up a person’s preferences, such as the music and lighting they like.”

Amazon EchoAmazon Echo, launched in 2014

The sources reportedly told the tech site that the Apple speaker could be released by the end of the year, but that “it’s more likely to be available in 2017”. The report also notes that the plans to include a camera aren’t confirmed, and that there’s still a chance Apple may “scrap the device entirely”.

Amazon Echo, a wireless speaker and digital assistant build by Amazon, was first released on November 6, 2014. While its initial success was limited, recent improvements to the device have boosted its popularity. Google Home, meanwhile, is Mountain View’s answer to the Amazon Echo, and was announced earlier this month at Google I/O.

Google HomeGoogle Home, announced in May 2016

All eyes are now on Apple to take on the Amazon Echo and Google Home, in a bid to win the AI war. While Apple has long been invested in its digital assistant, the company has faced plenty of criticism for not going far enough with Siri. It’s likely that if Apple’s Echo rival does feature a camera, there will be plenty of backlash over possible privacy and security issues.

Watch the Google I/O 2016 highlights:

Would you buy an Amazon Echo competitor built by Apple? Let us know in the comments.

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