Apple gears up for big announcements at WWDC

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An Apple store in Rosenstraße, Munich.

San Jose (CNNMoney) — It is an unexpected rivalry. On Monday at WWDC, Apple is expected to announce an entirely new piece of hardware so it can compete with ... Amazon.

At 10 a.m. PT, CEO Tim Cook will open the company's annual three-day developer conference in San Jose with a classic Apple media presentation. The Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is usually where Apple previews its software updates. Cook will be joined on stage by other Apple executives and possibly the disembodied voice of design chief Jony Ive, as is tradition.

This year, alongside the usual iOS and macOS updates, Apple is expected to announce a Siri smart speaker.

Amazon's Echo speaker has been a sleeper hit. The device, a black column with an always-listening microphone, is powered by a Siri-like assistant named Alexa. Part of its success has been due to Amazon's willingness to let external developers create "skills" for the assistant. Apple, by contrast, has been stubborn about letting outsiders tap the power of Siri, and the company has fallen behind as a result.

Apple isn't just going after Amazon. Google recently launched its own Echo imitation, the Google Home, powered by the still-nameless Google Assistant. Microsoft is partnering with third-party speaker manufacturers to bring its own assistant, Cortana, to homes.

A speaker may be the star of the event, but there's much more on the agenda. Apple is expected to show off a new, larger iPad Pro, as well as updated MacBook Pro and MacBook Air with speedier processors. A preview of new iOS features could also give us a hint of what to expect with this fall's iPhone announcement.

This story was first published on, "Apple gears up for big announcements at WWDC."