The leaker, Sonny Dickson, said that he expects Apple’s Alexa competitor to be marketed as a “Siri/AirPlay device” that runs a variant of iOS, and will utilize some form of Apple’s proprietary Beats technology. Other than those small tidbits, Dickson didn’t mention anything else about the device — perhaps indicating that details are still scarce. We don’t know much about Dickson’s sources, but they have proved accurate in the past. For example, Dickson leaked information that iOS 10 would feature a “completely reworked lock screen” months ahead of its release.
Apple is currently finalising designs for their Alexa competitor, expected to be marketed as a Siri/AirPlay device.
— Sonny Dickson (@SonnyDickson) April 27, 2017
The leaker’s rumor does conflict with a previous report stating that Apple “has no apparent interest” in producing a direct Echo competitor. In February, Time Magazine reported that Apple was seeking to make Siri an “omnipresent AI assistant across devices,” rather than relying on a central hub the way Amazon’s Echo devices serve for Alexa. While not exactly a direct contradiction, it will be interesting to see how Apple markets its rumored competitor.
While Apple may have differing plans, 2017 is certainly turning out to be the year of the Digital Assistant. With stiff competition from the likes of Amazon, Google and even Samsung’s Bixby, Apple needs to be strategic with its advanced Siri upgrades to keep the digital assistant relevant. Most of Apple’s competitors have an edge in price range — Siri comes with expensive smartphones and tablets, whereas Amazon’s Echo Dot costs just $50 (which might make it more economical for, say, a hotel chain to use in “smart” rooms). If Apple does indeed release a cheaper central Siri hub, it could very well help to even out the home automation and digital assistant playing field.
It’s currently unknown when Apple could unveil or ship the actual device, but the company is expected to show off new products and tech at its Worldwide Developers Conference in early June.
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