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Asides from improvements to the Activity app which is nearly certain to receive tweaks as Apple continues to market the Apple Watch as a fitness/workout companion, it's expected watchOS 4 will add a new sleep tracking feature which syncs with the Activity app, more independence from the iPhone and an all new Podcasts app.

Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller declined to comment. Apple employees have been secretly testing the device in their homes for several months, they said.

The technology giant's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) begins on Monday, where chief executive Tim Cook could also reveal a new iPad and additions to the MacBook laptop and Mac desktop computer lines. Apple last updated the 9.7in iPad Pro in March 2016 and hasn't refreshed the larger 12.9in model since its November 2015 debut. Sources said that "Apple has also considered including sensors that measure a room's acoustics and automatically adjust audio levels during use".

It's not yet clear how it will do this, though Bloomberg reports there will be "deep integration" with Apple services.

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Amazon has dominated the category of connected speakers since 2014 when it introduced its first Echo, which responds to voice commands and allows users to order goods or rides and control connected appliances. At present, an Apple TV or iPad is required to control that equipment from outside the home or automatically. Just earlier this week, Apple pushed back delivery dates for its 15-inch MacBook Pro to June 6 through June 8 - lining up perfectly with the rumored announcement of the new MacBooks on June 5. Apple's speaker won't include such a screen, according to people who have seen the product.

Focusing on sound quality would give Apple an advantage, particularly given its historical strength in music, if it moves to another front in its war against Google and Amazon. With its bulky size and high price point, the Hi-Fi flopped and was discontinued within 18 months of launching.

Secondly, the Siri speaker would also act as a central hub for Apple's home integration and automation dreams, powered by their HomeKit system announced previous year.