“Microsoft is joining Google and Amazon in the race for your home,” Cade Metz writes for Wired. “This week, at an event in China, the venerable tech giant trumpeted the arrival of Project Evo, a sweeping plan to build hardware devices that work a lot like Google Home or the Amazon Echo.”

“But this race is much bigger than some gadgets that sit on your coffee table. It’s a race not only for the hearts and minds of consumers, but for a world of business customers, too,” Metz writes. “The prize is more than just the best home digital assistant. The biggest spoils go to the company that rides its assistant to artificial brains that are far smarter—and creates a market for using these brains to do just about anything.”

“Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are all racing to build systems that recognize and truly understand natural language—how you and I talk. If they can put this technology not only in your living room, but in your pocket and elsewhere, they can become the hub of everything you do online,” Metz writes. “Google wants to retain its central role in your life. Amazon hopes to move well beyond online shopping. And Microsoft doesn’t want to be left out.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: And Apple is resting on their laurels with their thumbs up their asses.

Or are they really?

We think not. What Apple’s been working on will become quite clear in 2017.

Of course, this is not to sugarcoat Apple’s lateness in relation to Amazon Echo. As we wrote in March:

Something along the lines of Amazon Echo is what Apple should have done if run by competent, forward-thinking management. When Apple finally does do their version of Amazon Echo (and they will get around to doing such a product eventually) they will rightly be called a follower. The company had all of the ingredients to make their own Echo, before Amazon, except for the vision, it seems.

And, as we wrote back in June:

There could be a psychological component to this that leads people use Alexa over Siri precisely because they know the Echo is there (it’s a physical object), but forget about Siri being everywhere, even on their wrists (because Siri is embedded inside devices that are “for other things” in the user’s mind (telling time, watching TV, computing, phone calls, etc.) and therefore “hidden” to the user. Hence, Siri gets forgotten and goes unused while people use Alexa…

Again: We believe people use Alexa because Amazon Echo is a physical manifestation of “her,” while forgetting about Siri even though she’s on their wrists at all times and/or in their iPhones and iPads because Siri is hidden inside objects whose primary function is something other than “personal assistant” in people’s minds (watch, TV, phone or tablet, as opposed to “Siri.”) Alexa is present thanks to the Amazon Echo. Siri is absent because she has no such counterpart; no physical manifestation.

Siri is a ghost. Alexa is that cool, fun, glowing tube right there on the counter.

Apple would do well to not discount the psychology behind why people use certain features, even though cold, hard logic tells them it’s a redundant and unnecessary product.

An “Apple Echo” device would sell in the millions of units per quarter and boost Siri usage immensely.

Apple’s Amazon Echo echo: What if AirPort Extreme becomes the Siri speaker? – December 1, 2016