Apple is working on its own version of an intelligent personal assistant speaker, which will be powered by Siri to challenge Amazon Echo and Google Home. With voice-activated smart speakers being able to field questions and carry out certain tasks they're becoming a bigger presence in the home and Apple wants a slice of the action.
The Siri-powered device would likely take the shape of a Bluetooth speaker similar to Amazon's Echo, where it sits on kitchen benches or coffee tables listening out for your commands via a built-in microphone. According to reports it would be able to control any device compatible with Apple's HomeKit, turn on music, plus connect to your WiFi to retrieve news headlines or other information such as recipes, emails or answer questions you ask it.
After speaking to a source having knowledge on the matter, The Information reported that the Siri speaker was in the process of development even before Amazon's Echo hit the market in 2015. Along with this, Apple is also planning to open up Siri to third-party app developers so that it can be used in any app. The Siri software development kit (SDK) could arrive as early as June during its 2016 WWDC conference, which could lead to the development of a host of new features and applications for Apple's voice assistant.
Siri was first introduced as a feature in iPhone 4s released in October 2011 and the move comes as the company looks to broaden its reach in the field of artificial intelligence.
Amazon is already leading the market with its Alexa voice assistant and Echo Bluetooth speaker. But the main advantage Apple has over Amazon is that Siri is multilingual, while Alexa is confined to the English-speaking US. Google recently introduced its AI assistant dubbed Google Assistant and Google Home speaker at its annual I/O conference.
While Google Assistance can accomplish more complex tasks than Siri or Alexa such as buying movie tickets while on the go, finding restaurants or theatres and navigating you there, Amazon remains the popular consumer choice in the home. Alexa can connect with any third-party apps and services meaning for example it can book Uber taxis without having to log into the app as well as playing games and performing a list of information-retrieving tasks.
While artificial intelligence personal assistant speakers are an exciting prospect they may never reach their full potential unless developers bundle more functions into them, the Verge reported. They're the future and we're getting there gradually.