Following rumors of Apple working on a Siri-based speaker from last week, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says in his latest note that there is an “over 50 percent chance” of Apple debuting the speaker at WWDC 2017.
The smart speaker from Apple will act like a smart hub for all HomeKit compatible devices and will compete against the likes of Amazon Echo and Google Home. While Apple will announce its first “home AI product at WWDC”, it will go on sale in the second half of 2017 to better compete with the new Echo models that Amazon will be launching later this year.
The analyst further believes that Apple’s smart speaker will offer great acoustic performance as it will feature one woofer and seven tweeters. It will also feature powerful internals that will offer performance similar to that of the iPhone 6 or 6s. In typical Apple style, the product is expected to be targeted towards the higher-end of the market and will cost more than Amazon Echo.
Previous rumors surrounding the smart speaker suggest hat it will feature a Mac Pro-like concave design at the top with built-in controls. They also point to the device coming with some form of Beats technology and will be running a modified version of iOS.
The success of Apple’s smart home speaker will ultimately depend on just how good Siri is. In its current state, Siri leaves a lot to be desired as it is clearly behind Google’s Assistant and Amazon Echo in most scenarios. Apple is expected to announce major improvements to its virtual assistant next month at WWDC which might just put Siri back in the competition again.
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