“Apple appears poised to unveil a voice-activated, internet-connected speaker that would create a new digital pipeline into people’s homes,” The Associated Press reports. “Tapping Apple’s Siri digital assistant, such a speaker is expected to serve as a butler as well as an outlet for listening to music. If the speculation pans out, the speaker would be Apple’s first new product since its smartwatch in 2015. And it would mark an effort by Apple to catch up with Amazon and Google.”

“Amazon introduced the Echo speaker, featuring its Alexa assistant, in 2015. Google followed with its Home speaker, featuring its plain-named Assistant, last year. Both speakers can respond to voice requests for the news, weather and tasks such as turning on the lights,” AP reports. “More than 35 million people in the U.S. are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than doubling from last year, according the research firm eMarketer.”

“Amazon just unveiled a version of Echo with a camera, touch-screen display and video-calling capabilities. The new Echo Show goes on sale on June 28 for $230,” AP reports. “Although it was the first smartphone maker to come out with a digital assistant when Siri debuted in 2011, it hasn’t had a stand-alone assistant. For Apple, having one would further broaden the role that its software, services and gadgets play in people’s lives.”

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MacDailyNews Take: Starting well over a year ago, we correctly predicted that Apple would debut a “Siri Speaker” and, when they finally got around to it, they’d be called a follower for doing so (see above). We outlined why a “Siri Speaker” — Apple’s first Siri-centric device — might work better for people, even when Siri is ever-present inside our iPhones, Apple Watches, iPads, and Macs. And, we stated our expectation that Apple’s “Siri Speaker’ would quickly take the coveted premium portion of the market:

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.MacDailyNews, March 29, 2016

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.MacDailyNews, June 15, 2016

Once they finally get something shipping in quantity, it’ll be fun to watch how quickly Apple takes the top end of the market away from Amazon’s Echo since Apple’s solution will certainly have unique advantages within Apple’s ecosystem that makes it the obvious choice for Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch users. — MacDailyNews, May 10, 2017