Beginning Monday, June 5, and ending on Friday, June 9, Apple will hold its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose California. At the event, engineers and developers from all over the world will congregate to see what is usually a heavy software itinerary. However, the event in previous years has been the place for Apple to announce certain bits of hardware. As such, this year, the rumor goes, that a Siri Speaker, which is similar to the Amazon Echo and Google Home Smart Assistant’s is due to be announced.
Siri Speaker What We Know
Is the rumor of an Apple Smart Assistant for the home, just rumor? Not according to Bloomberg’s Alex Webb and Mark Gurman. In a recent report, they suggest they suggest Apple’s partners are already manufacturing it. Additionally, rumors of a WWDC announcement are highly likely, although, they do not expect it to release until later this year.
So with the prospect of yet another Smart Assitant to choose from for your home. What will differentiate the Siri Speaker from the Amazon Echo, the current market leader?
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How It Differs From The Competition
If you’ve been keeping abreast of the story that is Siri Speaker, you may be thinking; it’s no different. One area, in which many have become confused about is how it deals with sound. Some reports have suggested, like the Echo, it will just respond to voice commands, take and answer questions, play music. And ultimately control your home, most of which is of course accurate.
However, the information that we have seen indicates that Apple has been working on the Siri Speaker for two years. As such, you can bet, it won’t be a copy of anything else on the market, with an Apple Logo.
As for sound quality, that is supposedly where the differences are said to be compared to the devices already available. What we’ve read indicates that superior microphone and speaker technology will be incorporated. Although, we do not know if this means some kind of Beats Audio technology is going to be, behind that. However, at least virtual surround sound will happen, as well as almost perfect comprehension of a user’s voice.
Now, let’s be clear, Apple itself has released no official information about what the press is dubbing the Siri Speaker. Most of what we’re telling you here come from rumors and supposed insider information. So please take it with a pinch of salt, and continue to read our updates.
So, what about facial recognition? It could if the rumors are true, it’s a feature that will detect who is using the speaker. Apparently, this would enable it to customize services to say an adult or child, depending on previously set preferences. As for how this could be expanded upon to give even more functionality, there’s very little details yet. However, we would like to certain safeguards placed into a Siri Speaker, which on facial detection would auto-disable certain features. Right now the predictions indicate, that a master control/administrator would need to pre-input such restrictions.
Of course, with a name such as the Siri Speaker, there’s no doubt, if this is true that Siri, the one you find on your iPhone or iPad will be present. However. He/she will maybe sound the same, but be fundamentally different, mainly because of the type of device it’s incorporated into. Although what will remain the almost same is its ability to answer questions, the only differentiator will be the scope of question answerable. And of course, the fact that as a home-based smart assistant, the speaker it would serve as a home hub. Meaning that it could act as a gateway for controlling heating, lights, locks, curtains, communication between family members and more.
As for additional functions, aimed at interactivity, it could read aloud your emails, text messages, and tweets. Plus, as we’ve seen with other devices, read aloud the news and weather reports for your local area. Other uses could also include the streaming of content via Apple Music, and the easy setup of reminders, the possibilities are almost endless.
Built In Camera
While it’s clear that any inbuilt facial recognition feature would require a camera, what else could the sensor do? How about stand guard over your home while away, and relay still images, or video to your iPhone? Yes, there are already products which do such a thing. However, they are stand-alone devices, not Smart Assistants like the Siri Speaker. Such functionality could enable the speaker to inform you or the police of intruders and capture all relevant data. Additionally, the monitoring of who comes in and out of your home at unexpected times of the day may be possible.
As for the competition, Amazon’s Echo does include a camera; however, it does not have security focussed functionality. While the Google Home device has no camera at all, which for purposes of safety is an oversight, for sure. We think these smart devices should be able to monitor your home while you’re away, that way they double in effectiveness. And ultimately, provide a service which is 24/7 and ultimately worth, the big money, you would undoubtedly be asked to pay.
Touch Screen Display
According to a recent MacRumors report, Apple’s Marketing chief, Phil Schiller spoke about voice-activated smart speakers. He suggested that the premise of an assistant with only voice input is useless for social media. As such, it’s now thought that the Siri Speaker will feature a touchscreen, much like the Amazon Echo Show.
Now, while Schiller, hasn’t come right out and said his company’s smart assistant would have one. It is probably easy to extrapolate Apple’s thinking as a whole on this. As such it’s easy to assume the Siri Speaker will also have a touchscreen display.
To further back up the notion of a display. The well-known KGi Securities Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently predicted that he believes Apple’s Siri Speaker will include a screen. It’s thought, that Apple will not release a device, that’s behind a competitor is one area of functionality.
At this moment in time, we have no information about Apple’s pricing plans. However, Analyst Kuo has indicated that he believes the Siri Speaker smart assistant will cost more than the Amazon Echo. That device can currently be purchased for $179, so as a pure guess we would say somewhere in the region of $250 to $300 USD. Which would be more than any home assistant available today. Although with advanced Siri, facial recognition and more, it may be a price worth paying.