Apple expected to reveal Amazon and Google smart speaker rival

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Apple is expected to unveil an artificially intelligent smart speaker to rival the Amazon Echo and Google Home later today.

The technology giant will reportedly use the opening of its annual developer conference, WWDC, to announce the device, which is expected to be powered by voice assistant Siri.

The device would be used to control internet-enabled products around home, as well as answer queries and provide news, weather and schedule updates.

Amazon and Google's existing speakers have proved popular with consumers since the Echo launched in the UK in 2016 and Home earlier this year. 

The speakers, driven by artificial intelligence and voice-enabled assistants - such as Amazon's Alexa - have become a leading trend in the tech industry and Alexa now boasts support for more than 10,000 apps.

The event will also see the tech firm discuss the next versions of software that power the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. 

iOS 11, the software which runs one the phone and tablet is likely to be shown off for the first time. 

The update could also give early clues on what to expect from the next iPhone, which is due to be announced in September, marking the device's tenth anniversary. 

The new version of MacOS, which powers Apple's desktops and laptop computers will also likely be demonstrated.

It has also been suggested a new MacBook and iPad - complete with a 10in screen for the first time may also be announced during the keynote, which will be delivered by Apple boss Tim Cook.