Apple’s Amazon Echo echo: What if AirPort Extreme becomes the Siri speaker?

“It’s been a weird year for Apple, product-wise,” Dan Moren writes for Macworld. “Not only were there a dearth of updates to the Mac, relatively modest changes to the Apple Watch and iPad, and very little movement on the Apple TV, but the company took the rare step of essentially discontinuing two of its product families: displays and its AirPort Wi-Fi routers.”

“General consensus seems to be that killing off those products is about streamlining the company to focus on other projects,” Moren writes. “We’re probably still a ways off from discovering what that streamlining is in favor of, but Apple fans are hopeful that it’ll be something totally new.”

“So here, let me tell you a fantastical tale of an Apple product that will probably never exist, but which makes a certain amount of sense in the company’s brave new lineup. A caveat: this stems from nothing more than my own imagination, not from any inside information or special knowledge,” Moren writes. “Looking at the likes of the Amazon Echo and Google Home, it’s not hard to imagine Apple packaging a great-sounding speaker with an array of microphones with which to interact with Siri… What if the Siri Speaker wasn’t just another device on your network, but included the hardware needed to run the network too? Instead of having a Wi-Fi router and a speaker, combine them into one—the AirPort line would not have died in vain.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Wow, we wish we’d thought of that. Oh, right, we did:

Wi-Fi router capabilities to be built into Apple’s Echo echo? — MacDailyNews, November 21, 2016

Also, 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 abandons development of wireless routers – November 21, 2016


  1. Why would I want the clueless Siri in my router?
    If I look up something in Maps on my Mac and then get in my car later that day, Siri tries to offer me directions to that place.

    That’s really lame unless you know how to drive from Memphis, Tennessee to Stuttgart, Germany. My car is not a hovercraft nor does it float. Besides, the cruising range is about 500 miles.

  2. Or maybe Siri just isn’t as good as Alexa. I had the chance to use an Echo last week. The voice recognition and range of fun and useful things that can be done make Siri look like an idiot.
    My 7 year old girl (who Siri can NEVER understand) played games with Alexa for an hour.

  3. Well here’s the problem. Apple has moved from magically delighting/surprising its customers with product releases to now frusturating its customers with total lack of visibility into future roadmaps and giving us assurance that they’ve got our backs in key areas (Mac, Airport, etc). Once you own and depend on Mac devices and solutions, you NEED to understand the full lifecycle management of those solutions.

    Either give me a consistent schedule of new product releases (which they do well with iPhone) OR fucking communicate what to expect with a products future (Mac and airport).

  4. Apple seems to be pretty darned clear about where they are going to me. They are hyper focused on iOS and Mobile and services. The Mac will be still around for the time being but it is being phased down to MacBooks and MacBook Pros. The MacBook Pro is the new Pro Macintosh. Apple may compete with Alexa at some point, when Home Kit and Siri meet in the future, but for now, not likely. They are reducing their product offerings, not increasing them.

    1. Keep in mind, this shows that Apple is a consumer digital company. The so called “pro-user” has been relinquished to whomever is interested. It’s such a niche product space that Apple, Inc. can’t justify addressing it.

      Currently Apple, Inc. is a one trick pony, if you consider that the vast majority of revenues is from the iPhone. For as long as we can remember the Mac has competed poorly in the general purpose computer space, with Windows PCs dominating. So Apple would be insane to keep trying to sell Macs to a world that generally doesn’t want them.

      Even now the Macs that do sell the most are MacBooks and MacBook Pros. It stands to reason that there will be no more MacPros, one more (if any iMacs), and the MacMini (bless its useful little soul), is not long for this world either.

      Apple is not interested in backroom IT, or large data center IT, or even the Enterprise, which is ironic considering all the IBM and CISCO attention. Then again, the IBM effort is built around mobile. MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and iOS devices. IBM is treating the MacBook/MacBook Pro just like an iOS device, i.e. with strong Mobile Device Management.

      When IBM says “Mac” think “Mac Laptop.”

      So yeah, the Airport is gone. Monitors are gone. And desktops aren’t far behind.

      1. I don’t think gaining PC marketshare most quarters for many years and taking 60% of PC global profit share is “competing poorly”.

        Mac’s are a huge growth opportunity in units, revenue and profits if they extend both the low and high ends (without letting up on quality or margins).

        The PC market will never be as large a market as the smartphone market, but nothing else is either. More Macs would also help sell more iPhones, so neglecting them is not even helping their iOS efforts.

    2. You are most likely correct that this is what Timber wants to do. But what he’s not smart enough to understand is that The map shown here is the kiss of death for Apple. If it continues herding consumers to cloud services, Apple’s going to lose a lot of former satisfied customers. The above strategy makes Apple just a middle man. Apple doesn’t own content, doesn’t own internet pipes, and apparently doesn’t eve care toe ensure end user the best possible local wifi with updated Airports. Apple has already strained its relations with content creators who need more versatile and capable Macs and great software. Cue has bungled video distribution forever. ITunes and now Apple Music are losing artist support since profit sharing is poor and getting discovered ion an Apple platform is like being the sharpest pin beneath the haystack.

      Apple had better realize that it needs to support creators and innovators and companies small or large with great PERSONAL computers, not just me-too laggard cloud services, aka subscription computing.

  5. It’s the stupid car. That’s why Apple is jettisoning products. Most people won’t be able to afford the car, but it will be typical Jony Ive over designed, under-featured.

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