Unlike the disembodied Siri and Cortana, Amazon's personal assistant software has a dedicated speaker box to call home: the Echo. This $199 cylinder came as a big surprise when it was announced early last month, promising to answer questions, play back music, and help you shop at Amazon even more efficiently. Though it has yet to ship out to most of its invite-only purchasers, the Echo has today been torn down by the guys at iFixit, and we can all inspect the way it's been put together. At the top of the speaker, there's an array of seven microphones nestled in under a volume control ring that's encircled by a band of LED light. Sending commands and queries to the Echo will be confirmed by light signals and aural responses.
As with Apple's Mac Pro, another recently introduced cylindrical device, the component boards inside the Echo are oriented vertically and everything is packed tightly together. Amazon has used a vibration-dampening fabric to minimize distortions and has stacked multiple layers of electronics inside the densely populated space. iFixit provides a handy size comparison by posing the Echo alongside two standard aluminum cans, giving everyone an easy way to determine whether they have space to fit an Echo in their lives.