Apple may be ready to announce its own Siri-based Amazon Echo competitor at its Worldwide Developer Conference in June. So says KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who calls it “Apple’s first home AI product.”
According to Mr. Kuo, odds are better than 50% that Apple will make a Siri-box announcement at WWDC. He says Apple’s device will integrate with our Macs, iPhones, iPads, and AirPlay.
He added Apple’s device will be presented as a premium product compared to Amazon’s Echo, and it’ll cost more, too. That higher price tag will get users processing power in line with the iPhone 6s, along with a higher quality audio system sporting seven tweeters and subwoofer in a mini Mac Pro-like body.
That fits with a report from late last week where Sonny Dickson said Apple may launch its Siri-based Echo competitor at this year’s WWDC event. Dickson has a strong track record with Apple product leaks, and has been Johnny-on-the-spot with photos of iPads and iPhones ahead of everyone else.
With Sonny Dickson and Ming-Chi Kuo both targeting this year’s WWDC, there’s a better than average chance we’ll at least see the rumored device even if it isn’t shipping right away.
So far, everyone seems to think Apple’s device will perform the same functions as Amazon’s Echo: information lookups, weather and news updates, smarthome device control, music streaming, and online product ordering. That’s all plausible, but considering Apple’s push for personal privacy, we may not see features that tie into more intimate data such as access to Calendar events and To-Do tasks.
Amazon’s Echo, as well as Google’s Home device, can tap into our schedules to remind us of upcoming events. That’s convenient, but a privacy threat since anyone within earshot of the devices can access your schedule—something that doesn’t fit with Apple’s push to keep our personal info out of everyone else’s hands (or ears).
Apple’s focus on personal instead of shared devices seems at odds with the rumored Siri appliance, too. Assuming Apple designs the device so anyone can talk to it, including access to a single person’s data seems like an odd move for the company. Limiting it to just one person’s voice print, however, feels too restrictive.
It’s possible Apple could use some sort of voice identification to tailor the device’s functions for specific users. The primary user, for example, could access their schedule and all HomeKit functions. Everyone else gets a subset with audio streaming and HomeKit control limited to less security-focused devices like thermostats and lights.
Assuming Apple really is planning on unveiling an Amazon Echo competitor at WWDC in June, it’ll be interesting to see how the company balances the all users approach we’re seeing on other voice control appliances with the Siri’s one-to-one nature.
[Thanks to 9to5 Mac for the heads up]