Apple’s Siri-based Echo competitor could launch next month

While we wait on Apple’s long-gestating self-driving car tech and AR developments, there’s one rumoredproduct we may seevery soon: a Siri-powered speaker.

According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, we could see“Apples first home AI product” debut at the company’sannual developer conference, WWDC, in June in San Jose, California. However, sales likely wouldn’t start untillater this year.

Thisproduct will reportedly be a high-end speaker, much like theAmazon Echo, and a “Siri/AirPlay device” that will look similar to the cylindrical, minimalist Mac Pro. Inside, it’s rumored toincorporateBeats technology and run a variant of iOS.

Apple’s Siri speaker was firstreported to be in developmentearly last summer. However, while Apple hasn’t offereda dedicated smart home living room companion (like Amazon’s Echo products),Apple TV owners have had a limited version of Siri in their living rooms since 2015. On top of that, Apple introduced the “Hey Siri” command with iOS 9. This lets you ask Siri questions,use her to play music, or use her to control connected HomeKit devices inyour homeyour phone just needs to be within listening range. And with iOS 10, Apple furtheropened up Siri to developersto expand on her utility.

It’s unclear how Siri’s abilities compare to Alexa’s 10,000 skills (although, clearly, both value the fun of hidden Easter eggs). With a speaker though, Applecould certainly introduce new use cases for the virtual assistant. Maybe, like Alexa, Siri will hasten our purchases of items on iTunes, for example. And being tapped into the greater Apple ecosystem, perhaps Siri would be able to offer more productivity-targeted benefits than Amazon’s Echo does. With Beats technology inside though, music will almost definitely be a primary focus of the speaker.

H/T the Verge

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