Apple's Siri-based Echo competitor rumored to borrow design cues from Mac Pro, could arriv...

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in Future Apple Hardware
More details on Apple's anticipated standalone Siri speaker have emerged, suggesting the device could look similar in some ways to the company's cylindrical Mac Pro desktop, and could be released as soon as WWDC in June.




Details about the purported device were shared by leaker Sonny Dickson with reporter Jen Ryall, who shared the information via Twitter. It was said that the Amazon Echo competitor will have a concave top with physical controls on top.

Below that, the device is expected to have a speaker mesh portion covering the body of the device. Fans anticipating the hardware should "think Mac Pro style," borrowing its concave top, Ryall wrote.

It was said that the mesh on the accessory will be similar to the UE Boom Bluetooth speaker accessory, a device that Apple sells in its own retail stores.




Finally, it was said that it's "possible" that the device could debut at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, set to take place in San Jose June 5 through 9.

Separately, Dickson also said to MacRumors that the rumored hardware is known internally at Apple by the codename "B238."




Fresh details on the alleged hardware first began to surface on Thursday, when Dickson indicated on Twitter that Apple is "currently finalizing" the designs for its long-rumored Echo competitor. The device is said to feature support for Siri and AirPlay, and will include Beats speaker technology.

Rumors of an alleged Echo competitor from Apple are not new, as such a device would allow the Siri personal assistant to have an omnipresence in a user's home, even if their iPhone or iPad is not nearby. Like Siri, the Amazon Echo can be used to control smart home devices, set timers and reminders, give information about the weather, and answer an assortment of other queries.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 86
    It should have a flexible OLED display wrapped around its exterior so that it can display messages, images and video.
    bdkennedy1002zoetmblostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 86
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,970member
    I sure hope so. As amazing and useful as my Echo is, Apple has a much longer history with a digital personal assistant and 100s of millions of more devices that they've been able to study, so they should be able to come out with something that is considerably better.

    It would be great to compare Siri against Alexa when both are using well designed far-field microphone systems to listen to user commands. Add in HomeKit connectivity and the ability to ask "Siri Home" who's calling or who sent me a message and I'll gladly decommission my Echo.

    Hopefully Apple is even ready to start understanding which family member is making the query based on voice patterns. 
    repressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 86
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,155member
    So where did this rumor suddenly pop up from?
    tallest skilpscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 86
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,742member
    lkrupp said:
    So where did this rumor suddenly pop up from?
    My guess is official "unofficial" leaks directly from Apple. Fairly typical noise from the traditional Apple-friendly mouthpieces as a product gets closer to the big reveal. 
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 5 of 86
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 591member
    As much as I would love to have a well-functioning Siri-based Echo competitor, the emphasis must be on "well-functioning"! and since Siri is the opposite of well-functioning, indeed it is just a dangerous time-wasting distraction, this can only be a catastrophe.
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 6 of 86
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,970member
    sflagel said:
    As much as I would love to have a well-functioning Siri-based Echo competitor, the emphasis must be on "well-functioning"! and since Siri is the opposite of well-functioning, indeed it is just a dangerous time-wasting distraction, this can only be a catastrophe.
    Can you give me an example of of Siri's AI that makes you think a competitor to Amazon Echo or Google Home can't possibly be "well-functioning" and will only result in "catastrophe"?
    edited April 2017 equality72521pscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 86
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,486member
    Didn't the Mac Pro end up being an embarrassing mistake for Apple? They are either foolish to release another product with the same design, or they are trying to spin a positive image onto the design.
    repressthis
  • Reply 8 of 86
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,970member
    Didn't the Mac Pro end up being an embarrassing mistake for Apple? They are either foolish to release another product with the same design, or they are trying to spin a positive image onto the design.
    1) The Mac Pro design was never an embarrassment.

    2) What does the cylindrical design of a completely different product category have to do anything?
    mike1repressthispatchythepiratemejsricfastasleepequality72521pscooter63StrangeDaysbonobobwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 86
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,486member
    sflagel said:
    As much as I would love to have a well-functioning Siri-based Echo competitor, the emphasis must be on "well-functioning"! and since Siri is the opposite of well-functioning, indeed it is just a dangerous time-wasting distraction, this can only be a catastrophe.

    I think such a perspective needs to be put into context.

    Siri works extremely well for me.... on a multitude of internet connections (cable, ADSL and cellular), and environments (home, car, etc.)

    So what is your context? Where does Siri fail to function well? Is it difficulty with her understanding you? Or if she does translate your words perfectly, does she fail to produce the expected result? If you give specific real-world examples, maybe people can offer up suggestions to get you a better experience.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 86
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 591member
    Soli said:
    sflagel said:
    As much as I would love to have a well-functioning Siri-based Echo competitor, the emphasis must be on "well-functioning"! and since Siri is the opposite of well-functioning, indeed it is just a dangerous time-wasting distraction, this can only be a catastrophe.
    Can you give me an example of of Siri's AI that makes you think a competitor to Amazon Echo or Google Home can't possibly be "well-functioning" and will only result in "catastrophe"?


    Are you trying to say that Siri is in any way useful to you for anything? What am I doing wrong then? It does not even understand names in my Contacts properly, not to mention names in Mail, Notes, Reminders, Facebook List, etc.. 99% of the answers are "I found this on the web for you". Have you ever tried to set up a meeting in your calendar: ""Hey Siri, please set up a appointment in my calendar for a meeting with Susan at 8 am on Thursday", I set up "meeting" in your calendar.... Ask Siri to play, say, music from The Beatles while off-line. Instead of playing the songs you have on your phone, its spins forever searching Apple Music.
    When asked what the score was of the last game Borussia Dortmund played, it gives you last week's Bundesliga score but not the previous day's Champions' League game. And so it goes on.
    edited April 2017 patchythepiratebdkennedy1002wlymcrowley
  • Reply 11 of 86
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,603member
    Soli said:
    I sure hope so. As amazing and useful as my Echo is, Apple has a much longer history with a digital personal assistant and 100s of millions of more devices that they've been able to study, so they should be able to come out with something that is considerably better.

    It would be great to compare Siri against Alexa when both are using well designed far-field microphone systems to listen to user commands. Add in HomeKit connectivity and the ability to ask "Siri Home" who's calling or who sent me a message and I'll gladly decommission my Echo.

    Hopefully Apple is even ready to start understanding which family member is making the query based on voice patterns. 
    I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to home automation. I have a vision of a device sitting there, never used. I can see the practicality of being able to switch off all the lights in the house from my bed, but at the same time, as I make my way upstairs I don't mind lifting my arm and flicking a switch. Besides, the cost of leaving a light burning for one night is negligible these days with LED's. In a similar way I see most of the home tasks I perform as not too much trouble to do analogue. That said, I am also interested. I like the idea, I guess. So, what is it that you do that makes your Echo 'amazing and useful'? What tasks does Echo perform for you on a daily basis? 
    repressthislostkiwi
  • Reply 12 of 86

    sflagel said:
    Soli said:
    sflagel said:
    As much as I would love to have a well-functioning Siri-based Echo competitor, the emphasis must be on "well-functioning"! and since Siri is the opposite of well-functioning, indeed it is just a dangerous time-wasting distraction, this can only be a catastrophe.
    Can you give me an example of of Siri's AI that makes you think a competitor to Amazon Echo or Google Home can't possibly be "well-functioning" and will only result in "catastrophe"?


    Are you trying to say that Siri is in any way useful to you for anything? What am I doing wrong then? It does not even understand names in my Contacts properly, not to mention names in Mail, Notes, Reminders, Facebook List, etc.. 99% of the answers are "I found this on the web for you". Have you ever tried to set up a meeting in your calendar: ""Hey Siri, please set up a appointment in my calendar for a meeting with Susan at 8 am on Thursday", I set up "meeting" in your calendar.... Ask Siri to play, say, music from The Beatles while off-line. Instead of playing the songs you have on your phone, its spins forever searching Apple Music.
    When asked what the score was of the last game Borussia Dortmund played, it gives you last week's Bundesliga score but not the previous day's Champions' League game. And so it goes on.

    That video represents most of my interactions with Siri too.  Although to be fair I don't blame Siri for thinking that "ya-cob" means "Yarko" rather than "Jacob."
    patchythepirateSpamSandwich
  • Reply 13 of 86
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,970member
    sflagel said:
    Soli said:
    sflagel said:
    As much as I would love to have a well-functioning Siri-based Echo competitor, the emphasis must be on "well-functioning"! and since Siri is the opposite of well-functioning, indeed it is just a dangerous time-wasting distraction, this can only be a catastrophe.
    Can you give me an example of of Siri's AI that makes you think a competitor to Amazon Echo or Google Home can't possibly be "well-functioning" and will only result in "catastrophe"?


    Are you trying to say that Siri is in any way useful to you for anything? What am I doing wrong then? It does not even understand names in my Contacts properly, not to mention names in Mail, Notes, Reminders, Facebook List, etc.. 99% of the answers are "I found this on the web for you". Have you ever tried to set up a meeting in your calendar: ""Hey Siri, please set up a appointment in my calendar for a meeting with Susan at 8 am on Thursday", I set up "meeting" in your calendar.... Ask Siri to play, say, music from The Beatles while off-line. Instead of playing the songs you have on your phone, its spins forever searching Apple Music.
    When asked what the score was of the last game Borussia Dortmund played, it gives you last week's Bundesliga score but not the previous day's Champions' League game. And so it goes on.
    I use Siri every day. It's very useful. I set calendar entries, play music, do general searches for random questions, ask for sports and movie info, reply to messages, and set reminders in some form or another every day.

    I have no idea what you could be doing wrong, but when you make a comment like "[Siri] does not even understand names in my Contacts properly," I'm not certain you know the difference between the Siri service and the HW that has to first record your audio before being converted to text and then analyzed, like with the limited microphone on the iPhone as compared to the Echo. Even between the Echo and Echo Dot, which also has a far-field mic setup, I can tell there's a difference in how clear I need to be for the two Echo products to properly understand me.

    If you're talking about German as per your Borussia Dortmund reference, that's a language I've never tested. Siri's AI might not be as advanced for the language, there could be structural issues with the language that make it harder to parse, or more dialects to contend with that make it harder to be universal. I can only talk about speaking American English.


    PS: I only watched the first part of that video and that could be what the mic is picking up, but it's likely an ongoing issue with Maps intelligence—which isn't about Siri. Maps has a way or picking an incorrect location thousands of miles away even when typing it in.
    edited April 2017 mike1equality72521dementuschikandementuschikanpscooter63
  • Reply 14 of 86
    Didn't the Mac Pro end up being an embarrassing mistake for Apple? They are either foolish to release another product with the same design, or they are trying to spin a positive image onto the design.

    Look at the picture in this article.  Every device in this space is a black cylinder, so this would neither be a possible nor a negative.  Although if I had to guess, I'd wager that such a device from Apple would be... I don't know... WHITE.
    patchythepiratepscooter63
  • Reply 15 of 86
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,789member
    Didn't the Mac Pro end up being an embarrassing mistake for Apple? They are either foolish to release another product with the same design, or they are trying to spin a positive image onto the design.
    The Mac Pro is still a product ahead of its time despite its obsolete ports, with its dual GPU architecture and thermal core design. The software industry just couldn't keep up with dual GPU. I don't think Apple will withdraw it, it may enhance that line with an upgradable consumer model. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 86
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,161member
    sflagel said:
    Soli said:
    sflagel said:
    As much as I would love to have a well-functioning Siri-based Echo competitor, the emphasis must be on "well-functioning"! and since Siri is the opposite of well-functioning, indeed it is just a dangerous time-wasting distraction, this can only be a catastrophe.
    Can you give me an example of of Siri's AI that makes you think a competitor to Amazon Echo or Google Home can't possibly be "well-functioning" and will only result in "catastrophe"?


    Are you trying to say that Siri is in any way useful to you for anything? What am I doing wrong then? It does not even understand names in my Contacts properly, not to mention names in Mail, Notes, Reminders, Facebook List, etc.. 99% of the answers are "I found this on the web for you". Have you ever tried to set up a meeting in your calendar: ""Hey Siri, please set up a appointment in my calendar for a meeting with Susan at 8 am on Thursday", I set up "meeting" in your calendar.... Ask Siri to play, say, music from The Beatles while off-line. Instead of playing the songs you have on your phone, its spins forever searching Apple Music.
    When asked what the score was of the last game Borussia Dortmund played, it gives you last week's Bundesliga score but not the previous day's Champions' League game. And so it goes on.
    Siri works fine for me when asking about BVB scores. It shows the Champions League score against Monaco for me. I don't say Borussia though. It works if you just use Dortmund. 
    equality72521
  • Reply 17 of 86
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,970member
    paxman said:
     So, what is it that you do that makes your Echo 'amazing and useful'? What tasks does Echo perform for you on a daily basis? 
    In my bedroom I use my Echo Dot to tell the time and to set an alarm. I'm using this over a standard alarm clock as I don't want a glowing light reading off the time 24/7 because they say artificial light sources can disrupt sleep. I can simply say, "Alexa time," or "Alexa set alarm for 6am" without even opening my eyes. I also don't charge my iPhone or Watch in my bedroom any longer.

    In the kitchen I have the Echo—which I've been using since January 2015. I use it in the kitchen, when in the bathroom, or cleaning the house. I've never ordered anything from Amazon from, but I have used it to set reminders. Simple things that you'd likely forget in a few seconds and you save time from pulling out your iPhone, using Touch ID, opening the Notes app, going to your shopping list, and adding the item. I also use it for facts, it's great for quickly altering recipes, and getting news briefs when cooking. I also use it to mumble a question for the time when sign to the bathroom at night. It's really impressive how it can parse what I say without fail when half asleep. 

    Mostly I use it for music. Instead of going into my iPhone, connecting it to BT speakers and then hitting play, I can just tell it to play music. I have Spotify connected. Because the microphone system is amazing it never seems to miss a beat, and Spotify has excellent integration.

    Even with the iPhone it's great. Let's say I'm listing to a podcast on a run. I come home and say "Alexa connect to iPhone" and the podcast will start playing through the Echo. You don't have to touch a single thing. It just works.

    There's also a huge 3rd-party developer community with skills. Trackr, which is a company that makes BT tags for keys, wallets, pets, or whatever, can locate one of the Trackrs with a simple command to the Echo. It can even ring my iPhone. I also use a skill called Thrive which is just a simple 6-minute meditation I use on my Echo Dot to help get to sleep at night.

    It can read books to you and control your home, which would be helpful if you're blind. There are even games you can play.
    paxmanlostkiwi
  • Reply 18 of 86
    paxman said:

    What tasks does Echo perform for you on a daily basis? 
    In our house, with Insteon switches and dimmers throughout:

    While typing in manuscript: 

    "Alexa, what is the forecast for Beaverton?"
    "Alexa, set Rainy Day Lighting ON"

    While chopping:

    "Alexa, play Jazz"
    "Alexa, how many grams equal a half cup of flour?"
    "Alexa, set kitchen to 68 degrees."
    "Alexa, set timer to 8 minutes"
    "Alexa, reorder glutten-free pasta"

    While carrying dinner to wife on sofa:

    "Alexa, set Watch TV ON"

    While washing up:

    "Alexa, set Reading Time ON"

    While lying in bed:

    "Alexa, play Rain Forest Sounds"
    "Alexa, stop"
    "Alexa, set Overnight Lights ON"
    "Alexa, set an alarm for 6 AM"

    Later, in the dark:

    "Alexa, turn Bathroom Lights ON"
    "Alexa, turn Bathroom Lights OFF"
    "Alexa, add toilet paper to shopping..."

    Me, I'd much prefer to say Siri... and have the Sonos sound system throughout the house play, rather than the Echo.
    edited April 2017 Solipaxman
  • Reply 19 of 86
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,970member
    paxman said:

    What tasks does Echo perform for you on a daily basis? 
    "Alexa, set timer to 8 minutes"
    Another bonus—which Apple could easily add to iOS if they desired—are multiple alarms with Alexa, which helps a lot with cooking.

    "Alexa, how many grams equal a half cup of flour?"

    The last time I talked about Echo someone on this forum said that a real cook would know how the answers to any measurement question without asking.
    edited April 2017
  • Reply 20 of 86
    sflagel said:
    Soli said:
    sflagel said:
    As much as I would love to have a well-functioning Siri-based Echo competitor, the emphasis must be on "well-functioning"! and since Siri is the opposite of well-functioning, indeed it is just a dangerous time-wasting distraction, this can only be a catastrophe.
    Can you give me an example of of Siri's AI that makes you think a competitor to Amazon Echo or Google Home can't possibly be "well-functioning" and will only result in "catastrophe"?


    Are you trying to say that Siri is in any way useful to you for anything? What am I doing wrong then? It does not even understand names in my Contacts properly, not to mention names in Mail, Notes, Reminders, Facebook List, etc.. 99% of the answers are "I found this on the web for you". Have you ever tried to set up a meeting in your calendar: ""Hey Siri, please set up a appointment in my calendar for a meeting with Susan at 8 am on Thursday", I set up "meeting" in your calendar.... Ask Siri to play, say, music from The Beatles while off-line. Instead of playing the songs you have on your phone, its spins forever searching Apple Music.
    When asked what the score was of the last game Borussia Dortmund played, it gives you last week's Bundesliga score but not the previous day's Champions' League game. And so it goes on.
    **channels Seve Jobs** "You're obviously speaking wrong."
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