Not many would be expecting another smart speaker or home hub to enter the market especially after the third major one was announced yesterday by Android founder, Andy Rubin. But according to a new report by Bloomberg, Apple has one in store as well and it has already entered production, ahead of its expected World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2017 announcement, to be held on 5 June.
If you were not aware, there has been news about Siri formally entering your home in the form of a smart speaker. So after your pocket, your wrist and your desk, Apple's Siri could soon be available in your bedroom, hall and kitchen as well.
According to the report, Apple could debut the speaker at its WWDC event, which takes place on 5 June. The Siri speaker however, will not start shipping until later in the year, said a source familiar with the matter.
What will Apple bring to the game that was started by Amazon with its Echo (and now the Echo Show) and then followed up by Google with Home?
Apple is planning to include better sound with better hardware. It is expected to offer virtual surround sound technology and deep integration with the rest of Apple's product lineup. This means that Apple's Siri speaker will directly speak to the Apple products in your home (which should include Apple TV) and connect with the built in services by Apple as well.
This would include services like Apple's HomeKit system for controlling connected appliances and products, along with the popular Apple Music streaming service that also has video programming on its agenda this year.
According to the same sources, the new smart speaker will be manufactured by Inventec Corp. The OEM based in Taipei has seemed to have secured the contract after taking in Apple's AirPod wireless headphones last year.
While Apple seems to have a plan, it success with gadgets that enter your home has been not been too inspiring. AppleTV is one such product that has yet to make dent in the industry. AppleTV sales have kept declining for a while now and as per eMakreter's data (via Cult of Mac) and is currently used by only 11.9 percent of connected TV consumers. And openness could be the reason for the same as Google's humble Chromecast seemed to be doing a lot better at 19.9 (up from 18.4 percent) in September 2016.
More importantly, Apple needs to make Siri smarter. While making its services like Apple Maps (with navigation), News and Apple Pay available to more countries.
With Google already launching Google Assistant on iOS, Google indeed seems to have completed the circle in the iOS ecosystem, with an app available for every one of its Android services on a competitor's platform. Either Apple needs to follow suit or simply better its app offerings in comparison to its competitors. And this will need to be done in order to give Apple customers the world over, a reason to own a Siri smart speaker. Else the Siri speaker at launch will be as closed and as unsuccessful as the Apple TV.
You can find all our coverage on Apple's WWDC 2017 right here.