With Apple rumored to be working on its own smart speaker powered by Siri, the company’s SVP of Marketing Phil Schiller expressed his thoughts on Amazon Echo, Google Home, and other virtual assistant powered devices.
Schiller did not directly make comments on any one device, though he did say that Apple strongly believes in voice-driven assistant.
Speaking about the increasing popularity of voice-driven assistant devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo, Schiller admitted that they are convenient in certain scenario where one can simply issue a voice command to get the job done without looking at the screen. However, the SVP believes that without a screen, a voice assistant is of limited use as only voice feedback from the assistant does not always cut it.
“So there’s many moments where a voice assistant is really beneficial, but that doesn’t mean you’d never want a screen,” he said. “So the idea of not having a screen, I don’t think suits many situations.”
Citing the example of navigation while using Maps, Schiller said that while Siri can provide directions through voice, the map being displayed provides the user with a clearer understanding of their route and what they are going to do about it.
He cited another example of photography, which is very popular among Apple users, and how a screen is a must for it.
Or, for example, with photography, and one of the most popular reasons for our products is photography now, and photography requires a screen. So the idea of a device without a screen, well it’s not really useful for that whole category of photos that we all share. and all the social networking apps that are now embracing photos more and more, well, it doesn’t work really so great in voice-only assistants.
Thus, Schiller says that while virtual assistant will keep getting powerful as time passes and be capable of doing more, the importance of a screen for visual information will also continue to exist.
Interestingly, this is perhaps the same reasoning as to why Amazon is now working on a new version of Echo that comes with a touchscreen built-in. Schiller comments also suggest that recent rumors of Apple launching its own Siri-powered smart speaker at WWDC this year will likely turn out to be false.
Rumors claimed that the smart speaker will have a design similar to the 2013 Mac Pro with touch controls at the top. Considering how Schiller believes a touchscreen is still important for virtual assistant powered devices, the chances of Apple launching only a Siri-powered speaker without any display are pretty much nil.[Via Gadgets360]