Apple reportedly has plans to make its own voice controlled speaker or device, much like Amazon Echo, in order to control your smarthome kit through Siri voice control.

It has allegedly been working on the project for more than two years, which explains why we've heard similar rumours previously, but it is now said to have exited the research and development phase and is now in prototype testing.

People familiar with the matter told Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, who often gets Apple speculation bang on the money, that the new device will be able to control appliances, locks, lights and curtains via voice activation.

Gurman does point out, however, that as the plans are yet to be finalised, there's a chance Apple could scrap the project before it ever sees the light of day.

That'd be a shame as the sources claimed the Apple speaker could trump the Amazon Echo considerably. It will feature more advanced microphone and speaker technologies, they said. Early prototypes even included facial recognition sensors, using tech Apple acquired when it bought both Faceshift and Emotient in the last couple of years.

Apple has naturally declined to comment, but considering Amazon has had great success with its Echo speaker, which will be released in the UK at the end of September, we can see why the Cupertino firm is so keen to nab a slice of the smarthome assistant market.