Artificially intelligent home speakers that talk to users and carry out Internet-based tasks are the latest trendy smart devices, and it seems that Apple is working on one as well. Apple’s smart speaker, which could be just a month away, will compete with Google Home and Amazon Echo.
Apple is expected to release its own version of a smart home speaker equipped with its popular AI assistant Siri, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo, a trusted source of Apple-related news, predicts that the company will position the device as a more premium product than other products on the market with a higher price tag, high-end acoustics and computing power, notes news.com.au.
Further, there are reports that the device will have some design features in common with the Mac Pro, with a concave top and cylindrical shape with physical controls. Apple’s smart speaker is expected to come with high-end components, including a powerful custom CPU which is equivalent to the A8, and superior audio with seven tweeters and one woofer, reports AppleInsider. There are also rumors that Apple’s home assistant will feature AirPlay support for high-fidelity audio over Wi-Fi and a custom W1 Bluetooth chip for easy pairing with accessories.
KGI’s report did not speak of any release date for the device, but it did say that it could come as soon as next month. Sonny Dickson, another popular Apple leaker, has speculated that the tech giant will release the Siri speaker next month at its annual developer conference so that it can go on sale in the second half of the year, notes news.com.au.
Amazon working on a new Echo model with touchscreen display?
Apple’s home speaker will compete directly with Google Home and Amazon Echo. Both enjoy dominant shares in the smart speaker market. Amazon, meanwhile, is not sitting idle, as it is reportedly making efforts to push its market share further up with a fashion-focused product called Echo Look. A low-resolution picture of the new alleged hardware was supposedly found on Amazon’s servers by AFTVnews.com.
The image shows a new Echo model with a touchscreen display and a camera above the display. The device is angled upwards, making it easy to use when it’s sitting on a nightstand or counter, with a possible speaker array below the display. Further, the new Echo, supposedly code-named “Knight,” might come out later this month. If the timeframe is correct, then the e-commerce giant may be looking to compete with Apple, which is rumored to release its own smart speaker next month.
Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, is also pretty comfortable with the idea of a voice assistant with a screen. When speaking to Gadgets360, Schiller did not negate the idea of a voice assistant with a screen.
“There’s many moments where a voice assistant is really beneficial, but that doesn’t mean you’d never want a screen. So the idea of not having a screen, I don’t think suits many situations,” Schiller said.