Apple’s Amazon Echo Competitor Could Feature a Camera

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The Apple TV is a successful enough set-top box for Apple that it’s seen a pretty big upgrade in hardware and software recently, with the fourth-gen box and tvOS.

But things could be getting even more exciting for Apple’s solution to taking over the living room and bedroom. Recently, a report surfaced that outlined how Apple’s competitor to the Amazon Echo, and Google Home, might not be a completely separate piece of hardware, but instead be a brand new, revamped Apple TV. That report said Apple wants to make their set-top box “the hub of everything,” and being able to access Siri without the need of a Siri Remote could be part of that process.

However, a new report offers a slightly contradictory look into the future.

CNET reports that the changes to the Apple TV don’t stop with further integration of Siri, either. According to “people familiar with the matter,” Apple has explored the idea of including a camera in an upcoming “smart speaker,” which could use facial recognition to detect who is in the room at any given moment.

That would allow the revamped Apple TV to automatically transition to specific preferences set by a unique individual, including display settings, aesthetic changes, and more:

“The consumer electronics giant has explored putting a camera in its device, which could come in the form of a smart speaker like Amazon’s Echo, according to people familiar with Apple’s plans. The device would be “self aware” and detect who is in the room using facial recognition technology. That would let the device automatically pull up a person’s preferences, such as the music and lighting they like, the sources said.”

On top of that, the report states that Apple could launch this product in 2016, but could also be waiting until next year to launch it. Or it could be cancelled altogether.

This type of technology isn’t completely unheard of, as Microsoft’s Kinect, an accessory to the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, does the same thing for console owners. Still, it would be interesting to see Apple launch something like this — even if it’s an Apple TV or another, separate product altogether.

[via CNET]