Apple’s Amazon Echo echo

“Apple is reportedly building a Siri-based smart home device to rival Amazon’s Echo,” Stephanie Mlot writes for PC Magazine. “The project — designed to control appliances, locks, lights, and curtains via voice activation — has entered prototype testing, Bloomberg reports.”

“In an attempt to stand out from other smart speakers like the Echo and Google’s upcoming Home device, Cupertino is using more advanced microphone and speaker technology. It may also employ facial recognition to help identify who is in the room or a person’s emotional state, according to Bloomberg,” Mlot writes. “Cupertino engineers are reportedly testing the Echo rival in their homes right now — a common practice by Apple before launching new products, Bloomberg says.”

Mlot writes, “Earlier this month, Amazon introduced a cheaper Echo Dot speaker for $49.99 — $40 less than the original model, which arrived in March.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Again, Apple’s Echo echo will need to have some stark, plainly obvious differentiation or the general tech media will ream Apple even more soundly than usual.

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 on June 15th:

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 rival said to include includes built-in cameras to read users’ emotions, recognize faces – September 23, 2016
Apple’s Siri-powered Amazon Echo-like device reportedly now in prototype testing – September 23, 2016
Why an ‘Apple Echo’ would be a hit – June 15, 2016
New Apple TV to take on Amazon’s Echo, source says – May 26, 2016
Apple preps Amazon Echo rival, opening up Siri – May 24, 2016
Apple should make a stationary voice command device like Amazon’s Echo – May 19, 2016
Google unveils its Amazon Echo knockoff called ‘Google Home’ – May 18, 2016
Where’s Apple’s answer to Amazon Echo? – March 31, 2016
Amazon Echo leads mindshare in smart home platform war – February 29, 2016
Why did Apple buy a startup whose tech can read emotions via facial recognition?/a> – January 7, 2016
Apple buys Emotient, maker of artificial-intelligence tech that reads emotion by analyzing facial expressions – January 7, 2016


    1. Let’s be clear: The Echo was created with buying from Amazon as it’s main purpose. Amazon, to its credit, has added value in other ways. But I think a product’s future viability is a function of its original purpose. The Echo’s primary function has been, and still is, to facilitate purchasing products via Amazon.

  1. I bought an echo to try it, it works well. But returned it because it didn’t have much utility other than shopping on amazon and giving the weather and such. I also don’t completely trust amazon with personal data. That said apple could do this right, but I honestly don’t see the market for it. Maybe I’m nuts, but we have yet to see proof of this “success” from amazon… they don’t provide sales numbers, and they never make any money, so is it a success? Other than the tech media constantly saying it is, there is no proof whatsoever. And given their perpensity to call selling 60 + million iPhones a disappointment, while saying 1,000,000 Samsung devices shipped is a massive success, and trying to say no headphone jack is the same thing as a phone that literally explodes…. I would take this with a massive grain of salt. Not convinced of this products success at all.

    After saying all that, if done right it could be an interesting segment.

  2. I think everyone is giving Amazon way too much credit for creating a SIRI copy. This is a whole family device – meaning anyone in the household can use it. Does it differentiate one person from the other when requests are made – such as asking for current email? no. Anyone walking up to it will have access to anything it has been programmed for (email text’s private information). Competent, forward-thinking management at Apple would NEVER make such a security/privacy mess. They will wait until they have figured out the authentication issue (using voice or facial or watch or …). Something Amazon hasn’t.

  3. This is doomed. Siri won’t work. I have an Amazon Alexa.. I use it to play music or get a sports score now and then. The dream of everyone hooking up their lights and thermostats is going to take a VERY long time to make happen. And Siri would have to be about 1000% better.

    1. Don’t bet on it.
      I have been testing HomeKit and it is very immature and not that reliable.
      Also, every SW update FUBARs HomeKit remote where an Apple TV functions as a server.

      It puzzles me why Apple will not offer HomeKit on a Mac or use it – instead of an Apple TV for the HomeKit web server.

  4. Great, another computer camera I’ll have to tape over.

    Never bought the Echo. Amazon already knows enough about me.

    No interest in buying an “Apple Echo,” either.

    But I would consider buying the Apple sex robot.

  5. Where’s your evidence that Siri is going “forgotten and unused”, MDN? I and everyone else I know uses Siri daily. It’s the only voice assistant I ever see other people use in public. It’s probably the most-used voice assistant on the planet.

  6. If only Apple had listened to the bloggers and experts who were telling us what to expect from AppleTV starting from around 2 years before it was launched which described precisely what Amazon launched instead some time later. Clearly Amazon have better listeners. It reminds me of what Alan sugar did all those years ago when during the time Apple delayed the Newton he went out bought in and re branded technology and produced a device launched a few weeks before hand and still likes to this day to claim to being first with such a product. Apple clearly never learn at times.

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