Apple unlikely to develop an Echo-like standalone Siri speaker - report

Posted:
in iPhone
Apple doesn't appear interested in developing a standalone Amazon Echo-like speaker utilizing Siri, as the company's vision is instead linked to devices like the iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods.




Apple has "no apparent interest" in replicating the Alexa family of devices, according to Time's Tim Bajarin. Citing discussions with unnamed Apple executives, the future goal of the technology is to utilize Siri as an "omnipresent AI assistant across devices" rather than have a central hub.

The report comes close to one claiming that Apple's Siri will see another revamp soon. What Apple has in mind for the improvements are unknown, though the company did buy machine learning startup Turi in August, DigiTimes noted, citing market sources for the iPhone plans.

"Look at the core technologies that make up the smartphone today and look at the ones that will be dominant in smartphones of the future -- like AI," Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview in August discussing artificial intelligence company acquisitions. "AI will make this product even more essential to you."

Any Siri improvements would presumably be tied to iOS 11, which should be announced at the recently announced June Worldwide Developers Conference and launched in the fall, if Apple follows traditional schedules. The company is thought to be working on three new iPhones which would launch with iOS 11, including two modest "iPhone 7s" upgrades and a flagship "iPhone 8," possibly using a 5.2-inch curved OLED display made by Samsung.

Regardless of competitor's products current successes, voice recognition technology is only effective if it is constantly available, and ubiquitous. The Amazon Echo speaker, powered by Alexa, is tethered to a single location in the home, where Siri in the iPhone is not.

"No technology is as omnipresent in our lives as the smartphone," writes Bajarin. "And Amazon's high-profile attempt to make one was a flop."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 71
    irelandireland Posts: 16,533member

    "No technology is as omnipresent in our lives as the smartphone," writes Bajarin. "And Amazon's high-profile attempt to make one was a flop."
    So 2017 is the end of the Echo? People seem to be buying them. What is handy about something about an Echo-type device is it consolidates AI and a speaker. If you had a really good speaker you could ask of it virtually any question and also have it play audio for you directly. As it is now to get that with an iPhone to do this to the same degree you need a good speaker and an iPhone or iPad connected to said speaker where you talk to the satellite device. I don't know. What's also handy about something like an Echo is you can install them in businesses, hotels and centres for visitor or worker convenience and they are always connected to and with power—over the coming years this may prove powerful in some settings and Apple apparently won't be in that segment. I guess the good news is Apple can always make something later if they feel the desire.
    edited February 20 repressthis
  • Reply 2 of 71
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 2,716member
    Echo type products are just fads....it may not die this year, but its not a sustainable product for the foreseeable future. 
    lostkiwilkrupppscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 71
    I have an echo and I think it is rather a fad. It's useful - sort of, I guess. But I haven't used it in weeks now which is not a great sign. It hasn't proven itself to be important. More a toy you use and then don't go back to using. I think the phone is the right place for a truly deep AI assistant. 
    lostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 71
    irelandireland Posts: 16,533member
    I have an echo and I think it is rather a fad. It's useful - sort of, I guess. But I haven't used it in weeks now which is not a great sign. It hasn't proven itself to be important. More a toy you use and then don't go back to using. I think the phone is the right place for a truly deep AI assistant. 
    It's a great talking point for stock manipulation of AAPL. One of the media's favourite games.
    repressthisStrangeDayslostkiwiSpamSandwichpscooter63watto_cobracali
  • Reply 5 of 71
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,843member
    macxpress said:
    Echo type products are just fads....it may not die this year, but its not a sustainable product for the foreseeable future. 
    Why do you think I'll be going to go back to an archaic, less convenient solution?
  • Reply 6 of 71
    I'm not saying Apple should enter this market, but if they ever plan to a lot of work with Siri needs to be done. I have siri disabled on my iPhone, watch, and never use it on my mac because the time siri wastes trying to figure out my request I could have done it myself. 
    SoliNumNutscaliadm1
  • Reply 7 of 71
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,843member
    fluffhead said:
    I'm not saying Apple should enter this market, but if they ever plan to a lot of work with Siri needs to be done. I have siri disabled on my iPhone, watch, and never use it on my mac because the time siri wastes trying to figure out my request I could have done it myself. 
    I don't know where the HW stops and the SW service begins, but Alexa is absolutely amazing in being able to understand my commands. Nothing found on the major smartphones even comes close.
    repressthis
  • Reply 8 of 71
    jakebjakeb Posts: 553member
    This is essential for HomeKit. Otherwise you have to carry your iOS device to with you at all times to control lights, etc, and guests are unable to do things at all. 

    Control of a fixed devices requires a fixed control. You never want to have to go find your light switch. 
    repressthisirelandlostkiwicaliafrodri
  • Reply 9 of 71
    I would not trivialize Echo quite so soon...
    Unlike Apple, Amazon does not have a ubiquitous phone thus an AI assistant speaker does makes sense for Amazon. It's cheap and centralized. 
  • Reply 10 of 71
    So what's this device that recently went through third FCC iteration? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 71
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,843member
    So what's this device that recently went through third FCC iteration? 
    We don't know. It could end up never being a product, as we've seen before…



    wonkothesane
  • Reply 12 of 71
    Seems to me that an Echo-type device overlaps with other things too much. 

    For people in the Apple ecosystem, most already have an iPhone. If you also had a stationary Echo-type device and you invoke Siri, does your phone respond or does the Echo-ish thing do it, or do both, making things confusing? If you talk to Siri on your Apple Watch, (most of the time) your iPhone will defer and remain silent, because it's linked to the watch. The logic flow-chart for when to prioritize the phone or a stationary device becomes more complicated and problematic. If the stationery device always deferred to a nearby iPhone, it wouldn't take very long before its owner would wonder why they bought it. If it didn't defer, well why wouldn't it? You'd either have too many instances of dual response, or of the screenless echo-thing responding when you really wanted to access your phone.

    A stationary device would also overlap with traditional tech, like the television or home stereo. If it's the only speaker in the room, it's fine. If not, it quickly becomes redundant, and in many cases inferior to the other available sources of audio. 

    So I can certainly see why Apple would take a pass at that sort of a hot mess. There are too many opportunities for such a thing to fail to 'just work.' It makes a lot more sense to have something like AppleTV and Airport combined into a HomeKit hub, with Siri control available through networked iPhones and (at the push of a button) the ATV remote. That's a better recipe for seamless interactions.
    edited February 20 brucemcwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 71
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 11,932member
    I truly fear for this company. When the iPhone fades it's hard to see what is going to keep this company afloat.  

    I dont feel like Apple has had a SW or HW hit product in years. Cook keeps rambling about how amazing AI is, please just shut up and prove it. 

    Anyone that doubts the the efficacy of voice assistants for the home clearly didn't pay attention to the holiday season and the momentum Echo has. 

    Siri is not omnipresent.  I have 2 Google Home and an Echo dot and both crush Siri
    repressthis
  • Reply 14 of 71

    jakeb said:
    This is essential for HomeKit. Otherwise you have to carry your iOS device to with you at all times to control lights, etc, and guests are unable to do things at all. 

    Control of a fixed devices requires a fixed control. You never want to have to go find your light switch. 
    Interesting. I think guests will be just fine manually flipping the light switch. Does anyone really want to give a visitor or even an overnight houseguest full access to all the things that HomeKit can control? I think I'm a reasonably hospitable person, but I certainly wouldn't. Presently, visitors to my home can have access to (password protected) guest WiFi, but not to my home WiFi network that's linked to backups, printers, security cameras, etc. To do otherwise would just seem foolish.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 71
    Soli said:
    So what's this device that recently went through third FCC iteration? 
    We don't know. It could end up never being a product, as we've seen before…



    I wasn't aware of this. Thanks. 
  • Reply 16 of 71
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 1,518member

    Siri is not omnipresent. 
    I have Siri on my wrist almost all the time. That said, I don't find her very helpful or useful. YMMV.

    I might try an alexa dot. For $40 it seems worthy of a try. But Apple is not going to make a $40 anything. Unless it is a dongle.
    repressthisalcstarheelavon b7
  • Reply 17 of 71
    jakeb said:
    This is essential for HomeKit. Otherwise you have to carry your iOS device to with you at all times to control lights, etc, and guests are unable to do things at all. 

    Control of a fixed devices requires a fixed control. You never want to have to go find your light switch. 
    Surely guests could just use the light switch like they have for the last 100 years?
    watto_cobracali
  • Reply 18 of 71
    Soli said:
    fluffhead said:
    I'm not saying Apple should enter this market, but if they ever plan to a lot of work with Siri needs to be done. I have siri disabled on my iPhone, watch, and never use it on my mac because the time siri wastes trying to figure out my request I could have done it myself. 
    I don't know where the HW stops and the SW service begins, but Alexa is absolutely amazing in being able to understand my commands. Nothing found on the major smartphones even comes close.
    Oh stop, you're embarrassing Alexa with your adulation.

    lkruppmacxpresswatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 71
    SoliSoli Posts: 2,843member
    Soli said:
    fluffhead said:
    I'm not saying Apple should enter this market, but if they ever plan to a lot of work with Siri needs to be done. I have siri disabled on my iPhone, watch, and never use it on my mac because the time siri wastes trying to figure out my request I could have done it myself. 
    I don't know where the HW stops and the SW service begins, but Alexa is absolutely amazing in being able to understand my commands. Nothing found on the major smartphones even comes close.
    Oh stop, you're embarrassing Alexa with your adulation.
    https://youtu.be/r5p0gqCIEa8
    That's major goof by Amazon and that content should not be there at all, or at least enabled by default. I bet no one sued the company over that, but Apple would have seen a class action.

    Still, the Echo is amazing, which is why I now have them in nearly every room.
  • Reply 20 of 71

    I truly fear for this company. When the iPhone fades it's hard to see what is going to keep this company afloat.  

    I dont feel like Apple has had a SW or HW hit product in years. Cook keeps rambling about how amazing AI is, please just shut up and prove it. 

    Anyone that doubts the the efficacy of voice assistants for the home clearly didn't pay attention to the holiday season and the momentum Echo has. 

    Siri is not omnipresent.  I have 2 Google Home and an Echo dot and both crush Siri
    If you're truly happy with your talking Google and Amazon gadgets, why do you "fear for" Apple? This rumor says they aren't going to directly compete. Unless you think a talking speaker in your kitchen will somehow replace the smartphone and computer in the future, I think Apple has nothing to worry about.
    watto_cobraMacsplosion
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