Updated Apple TV may form foundation of Siri-based Amazon Echo competitor - report

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV
While Apple is indeed said to be working on competition for Amazon's Echo voice assistant, it should come in the form of an upgraded Apple TV instead of a separate speaker-like device, a report claimed on Thursday.




Apple has actually dropped the idea of a standalone speaker given the money spent on developing the Apple TV, a source explained to VentureBeat. The company wants the Apple TV to be "the hub of everything," the person commented.

A fifth-generation model will allegedly solve some of the problems with the current set-top and the Siri Remote. It's suggested that the set-top will eventually get its own microphone and speaker, and that Apple will be improving its computing infrastructure to handle more Siri queries. While the technology is already available on the Apple TV, it's more limited there than on iPhones and iPads.

Supporting these developments will be the previously-rumored Siri SDK for developers, allowing them to hook third-party apps into the platform, the source noted.

The report didn't specify when a new Apple TV might actually launch. While many Apple products are updated on an annual cycle, the Apple TV has so far been one of the exceptions. Also, while an announcement could be made at next month's Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple is unlikely to update hardware so quickly after the fourth-gen model's October debut. A fall launch may be more likely.

The proposed upgrades could pose problems for Apple, among them the fact that many Apple TVs are situated directly next to noisy home theater equipment. Another is the fact that the Echo -- and Google's upcoming Home -- aren't tied to TVs, and hence can work in any room with internet access.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 45
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Well, duh! Were they really going to force people with one non mobile hub device to buy another? Doesn't seem like that would be a great selling point for either.
    mattinoz
  • Reply 2 of 45
    owlboyowlboy Posts: 37member
    Well, this is what I expected before the current model was announced. I'll be kinda frustrated if there is a new major refresh to the Apple TV so soon. This is something that should have been in the major refresh. Maybe the Microphone array could be an add-on? This could conceivably make it so you could move the microphone array alway from the TV/Speakers
    patchythepiratecalijbdragon
  • Reply 3 of 45
    thewhitefalconthewhitefalcon Posts: 4,453member
    And so what, you put the ATV in the center of your house? Most people put theirs in equipment racks/entertainment centers, which aren't ideal for voice reception or speaker output. 
    patchythepiratecaliasdasd
  • Reply 4 of 45
    19831983 Posts: 1,225member
    They'll probably start off with a 5th-gen TV and then offer mic's to place elsewhere in the home. Or/and they'll include Siri support in some of the wireless speakers from their Beats brand while offering the Siri SDK to other manufactures of such devices too...like they already do with Airplay. Which by the way will hopefully get a major upgrade at next months WWDC...it needs some love!
    edited May 2016 jay-tigorskycalijony0
  • Reply 5 of 45
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,369member
    Didn't Apple announce the latest Apple TV at last year's WWDC and provide it to developers for a $1?  I could see them doing a similar thing since we would need time to develop apps for a fall release.
    cali
  • Reply 6 of 45
    VisualSeedVisualSeed Posts: 217member
    owlboy said:
    Well, this is what I expected before the current model was announced. I'll be kinda frustrated if there is a new major refresh to the Apple TV so soon. This is something that should have been in the major refresh. Maybe the Microphone array could be an add-on? This could conceivably make it so you could move the microphone array alway from the TV/Speakers
    Part of me hopes that most of this could be done with a software update. Minus the always on mic. Actually all of me hopes that, but the rational part of me realizes Apple historically pairs new features with new hardware despite the previous generation being capable of supporting them. I would not mind having my current Apple TV utilize the new Siri with the mic on the remote as long as the rest of the integration were there.
    bonobobcalicornchip
  • Reply 7 of 45
    Instead of making my 4th gen ATV obsolete so soon (calm down, I know it still fuctions completely fine), why not just have a small bluetooth mic device you can locate anywhere (charged using the same Applewatch wireless charger) that connects to the ATV4 which does the heavy lifting. Far simpler solution and gets the mic away from the home theatre.
    bonobobpatchythepirate
  • Reply 8 of 45
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,976member
    And so what, you put the ATV in the center of your house? Most people put theirs in equipment racks/entertainment centers, which aren't ideal for voice reception or speaker output. 
    It would seem to make sense that Apple is building out Siri and these kind of "always on" assistants in pieces. The goal at the end might be that Siri recognizes your voice and location, and picks up commands via Apple Watch, iPhone, CarPlay, or even remotes placed strategically in a home or office. This sort of thing makes huge sense in new construction. 

    Meanwhile, Siri has to get way, way smarter. I have a ATV4, and hardly ever use Siri. The only function I find useable is "what did he say?" Because that is the only way to access the feature.
    cali
  • Reply 9 of 45
    doozydozendoozydozen Posts: 539member
    At what price point would you imagine Apple aiming for with a next gen Apple TV including, presumably, a loud speaker, multiple microphones, possibly a small array of LEDs for visual feedback, and other relevant tech? Would this dream device be priced out of the streaming box-top market? I believe so. I still definitely want it
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 10 of 45
    levilevi Posts: 344member
    And so what, you put the ATV in the center of your house? Most people put theirs in equipment racks/entertainment centers, which aren't ideal for voice reception or speaker output. 
    Do they?
  • Reply 11 of 45
    jbishop1039jbishop1039 Posts: 257member
    eightzero said:
    And so what, you put the ATV in the center of your house? Most people put theirs in equipment racks/entertainment centers, which aren't ideal for voice reception or speaker output. 
    It would seem to make sense that Apple is building out Siri and these kind of "always on" assistants in pieces. The goal at the end might be that Siri recognizes your voice and location, and picks up commands via Apple Watch, iPhone, CarPlay, or even remotes placed strategically in a home or office. This sort of thing makes huge sense in new construction. 

    Meanwhile, Siri has to get way, way smarter. I have a ATV4, and hardly ever use Siri. The only function I find useable is "what did he say?" Because that is the only way to access the feature.
    Pretty much what I was thinking. They're building in always on functionality in all devices, just tie them together through software and you have your whole room solution, whole house even. 
  • Reply 12 of 45
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,392member
    Apple has actually dropped the idea of a standalone speaker given the money spent on developing the Apple TV, a source explained to VentureBeat. The company wants the Apple TV to be "the hub of everything," the person commented


    Apple TV is using the same mobile platform that the other iOS devices use.   The expense is largely a sunk cost since it's leveraged across all iOS platforms.  There's nothing that prevents a speaker attached to the same AXX platform.  I i'm not sure this comment inspires any confidence in their report. 

    How would a device like this help me in my kitchen or my bedroom where there are no TV?  Why would I want an AI device with 32GB of storage?    Why would I want an AI device that requires two connection (Power and HDMI)?  

    This rumor doesn't sound well thought out. 


    doozydozen
  • Reply 13 of 45
    adrayvenadrayven Posts: 460member
    Depends; the article completely ignores a simple fact.

    if Apple opens the SDK to where OEM's can make their own speakers(like they did with Airplay) and hook into the ATV similarly like one with AirPlay.. We could see Siri Enabled Speakers from many manufacturers that sends any Siri related requests to the ATV.

    From this standpoint, that makes complete sense.. I mean.. Why develop your own speakers, with a CPU/APU, when you can allow OEM's to make various kinds and you just facilitate from an existing platform, the Apple TV.

    This does a few things:
    • it add's value to the Apple TV giving them another leverage point in the Streaming TV arena.
    • It lowers cost to get into the market by using existing platform.
    • It gives OEM's a bone when it comes to making money from another accessory.
    edited May 2016 calipatchythepiratedrewys808
  • Reply 14 of 45
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,727member
    Apple has actually dropped the idea of a standalone speaker given the money spent on developing the Apple TV, a source explained to VentureBeat. The company wants the Apple TV to be "the hub of everything," the person commented


    Apple TV is using the same mobile platform that the other iOS devices use.   The expense is largely a sunk cost since it's leveraged across all iOS platforms.  There's nothing that prevents a speaker attached to the same AXX platform.  I i'm not sure this comment inspires any confidence in their report. 

    How would a device like this help me in my kitchen or my bedroom where there are no TV?  Why would I want an AI device with 32GB of storage?    Why would I want an AI device that requires two connection (Power and HDMI)?  

    This rumor doesn't sound well thought out. 


    How it would help you in the kitchen? Easy. You move your TV and couch into the kitchen! 

    I am a huge home automation sceptic and cannot see that voice activation will help anybody do anything better or quicker. It just seems like a 'we can so we will' kinda thing. If you have sensors and microphones in every room, then maybe. I think this will remain a hobby for a very long time.
  • Reply 15 of 45
    anomeanome Posts: 1,526member

    Isn't this just the rumours we had before the current Apple TV came out dug up, revived, and being sold as new?

    As for placement of the microphone, each Apple TV comes with a microphone that you're supposed to carry around with you. They could supplement that with separate microphone units, probably sold at a premium.

  • Reply 16 of 45
    rezwitsrezwits Posts: 868member
    They're not releasing a new Apple TV 5 at WWDC!
    doozydozen
  • Reply 17 of 45
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,392member
    paxman said:


    Apple TV is using the same mobile platform that the other iOS devices use.   The expense is largely a sunk cost since it's leveraged across all iOS platforms.  There's nothing that prevents a speaker attached to the same AXX platform.  I i'm not sure this comment inspires any confidence in their report. 

    How would a device like this help me in my kitchen or my bedroom where there are no TV?  Why would I want an AI device with 32GB of storage?    Why would I want an AI device that requires two connection (Power and HDMI)?  

    This rumor doesn't sound well thought out. 


    How it would help you in the kitchen? Easy. You move your TV and couch into the kitchen! 

    I am a huge home automation sceptic and cannot see that voice activation will help anybody do anything better or quicker. It just seems like a 'we can so we will' kinda thing. If you have sensors and microphones in every room, then maybe. I think this will remain a hobby for a very long time.

    Recipes and playing music while I cook.   I'd love to see the AI with the smarts to go step-by-step and pause waiting for my command before moving on.  I wouldn't need a book voice would be enough. Bonus if the AI could offer substitutions and size up/down the ingredients based on how many people are being fed. 

    I like my Hue system but eventually I did grow weary of grabbing my phone to make changes so I purchased the wall mounted control which I like very much.  Now I have a button that can be configured to control zones and it can cycle through presets that i've created.   It certainly fills a gap.   My ecobee thermostat is another thing that I prefer being able to voice command via homekit. 

    That being said HomeKit is still a bit flakey.  Here's hoping that 3rd time's a charm. 


    cali
  • Reply 18 of 45
    ppietrappietra Posts: 288member
    Instead of making my 4th gen ATV obsolete so soon (calm down, I know it still fuctions completely fine), why not just have a small bluetooth mic device you can locate anywhere (charged using the same Applewatch wireless charger) that connects to the ATV4 which does the heavy lifting. Far simpler solution and gets the mic away from the home theatre.
    absolutely. I would actually say for Apple to release a specification that would enable any manufacturer in MFI program to make an HomeKit mic system that would connect to an Apple TV or even an iPhone for Siri. 
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 19 of 45
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,375member
    So the Apple TV is going to be rebooted again? Or, maybe they will continue selling the current version and market the new one as a step up at a higher price point. Either way, I don't mind.
  • Reply 20 of 45
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    The Amazon Echo was released at the end of 2014.

    Why didn't Apple think of this before, like when they were making the newest generation Apple TV, if their plan is to incorporate it into the next Apple TV?

    If Apple is planning to release an echo competitor, then I think that it should just be a separate product, and sub $100. A small speaker with SIRI incorporated into it is all that's needed.
    wigby
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