It appears that Apple may be getting ready to take on the Amazon Echo and Google Home as the company prepares to launch their own Siri-enabled smart speaker.
The rumour of a Siri Speaker comes courtesy of KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via 9to5Mac), a renowned tech industry insider who has accurately predicted a range of Apple products and launches in the past.
Kuo suggests that Apple will launch its Siri Speaker at the annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which takes place in San Jose, California, on June 5-9, and that it will go on sale sometime during the second half of the year.
Kuo notes that artificial intelligence is something that Apple can no longer afford to ignore: while the company has made good progress in developing its Siri technology, it has missed out on other opportunities like smart speakers.
Apple’s Siri Speaker is expected to feature premium audio quality thanks to the inclusion of seven tweeters and a sub-woofer in the speaker’s housing, and will be presented as a high-end device complete with a considerably higher price tag than that of the Amazon Echo.
Like rival smart speakers, the Siri Speaker will be able to answer questions, complete tasks and set reminders, and it’s likely to include special functions related to other Apple products like the iPhone and Apple TV.
Apple is believed to have partnered once again with Inventec to manufacture the Siri Speaker, marking the second collaboration between the two companies as Apple previously partnered with Inventec to develop the company’s AirPods range of wireless headphones.
Kuo believes Apple will sell up to 10 million Siri Speakers in the first year of the device’s release, a challenging but not impossible task for such an influential company.