According to the report, the Siri team didn't learn of Apple's speaker plans until 2015.
In a number of interviews with former employees, many said that the technology was rushed before it was fully ready to be included with the iPhone 4s. That caused a number of internal squabbles regarding the virtual assistant’s future:
Siri’s various teams morphed into an unwieldy apparatus that engaged in petty turf battles and heated arguments over what an ideal version of Siri should be—a quick and accurate information fetcher or a conversant and intuitive assistant capable of complex tasks.
Interestingly, the report also noted that the Siri team was unaware Apple’s speaker project that eventually became the HomePod until after the original Amazon Echo hit the market:
In a sign of how unprepared Apple was to deal with a rivalry, two Siri team members told The Information that their team didn’t even learn about Apple’s HomePod project until 2015—after Amazon unveiled the Echo in late 2014. One of Apple’s original plans was to launch its speaker without Siri included, according to a source.
For its part, Apple also provided a statement to the site:
“We have made significant advances in Siri performance, scalability and reliability and have applied the latest machine learning techniques to create a more natural voice and more proactive features,” Apple wrote in its statement. “We continue to invest deeply in machine learning and artificial intelligence to continually improve the quality of answers Siri provides and the breadth of questions Siri can respond to.”
More about the HomePod