Amazon unveils ‘Echo Show’ with a display for video calls and more; ships June 28

“Look out, world: Alexa is coming to a screen near you,” Ingrid Lunden reports for TechCrunch. “Today Amazon unveiled the Echo Show, a WiFi-enabled home device with a seven-inch screen that is the newest addition to its Alexa-powered Echo range of home hubs that plays media and responds to voice commands.”

“One of the main selling points is that you can use the Echo Show to make and take video calls,” Lunden reports. “The device, which comes in black and white versions, will cost $229.99 and will be shipped from June 28, with preorders available now. It appears that it will be available first in the U.S. only.”

“The Echo has resonated with consumers and has been a runaway hit for Amazon. eMarketer estimates that the company will control 70 percent of the voice-controlled speaker market this year,” Lunden reports. “[Echo Show introduces] computer vision, including a camera to expand the kinds of functionality and responses provided by the Echo.”

Amazon's 'Echo Show' features a display for video calls and more
Amazon’s ‘Echo Show’ features a display for video calls and more

 
“Of course, there are many ways that a camera could be used — and not all of them innocuous — so perhaps unsurprisingly Amazon has chosen to market the Look for some of the lighter applications. In this case, the aim with the Look is to own it as a ‘hands-free camera and style assistant,'” Lunden reports. “You keep the device in your bedroom or dressing room, and use the camera to take selfies. Alexa then ‘reads’ these selfies and gives you ideas on what to wear — and likely what to buy, given Amazon’s large ambitions in the fashion/apparel space.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: To paraphrase Alan Kay:

Now, just make the screen at least 50-inches and you’ll rule the world.

Hopefully, Apple has something in the wings because they’re looking increasingly outmatched and visionless (pun intended) here. Apple could, and already should, have such devices on the market with Apple’s unmatched SECURITY and PRIVACY among their main selling points.

That Apple TV still cannot do FaceTime calls is not only inexplicable, it tells you just about all you need to know about the pace at which Tim Cook’s Apple moves. In blatantly obvious paths, glaciers move faster.

And, don’t say, “oh, but security.” Make a camera lens that physically closes with a cover that is plainly visible to users as closed. It ain’t rocket science. Do the opening and closing lens cover vertically and it might also make for some cool ads with winking Apple TVs and attendant emoji 😉 .

As we wrote in March 2016:

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 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.

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

SEE ALSO:
Phil Schiller on Amazon Echo-like devices and more – May 6, 2017
Apple’s Amazon Echo echo rumored to borrow trashcan Mac Pro design cues, could arrive at WWDC – April 28, 2017
Following debut of Echo Look with built-in camera, Amazon likely reveal new Echo device with a built-in display – April 27, 2017
Apple said to be working on a Siri-based Amazon Echo rival – April 27, 2017
Apple’s Amazon Echo echo: What if AirPort Extreme becomes the Siri speaker? – December 1, 2016
Apple abandons development of wireless routers – November 21, 2016
Apple’s Amazon Echo echo – September 26, 2016
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? – January 7, 2016
Apple buys Emotient, maker of artificial-intelligence tech that reads emotion by analyzing facial expressions – January 7, 2016

12 Comments

  1. This thing is nothing more than an dumbed down 7″ tablet with a built-in stand that sits on a table. Remind me again why Apple needs to enter this market at all? We already have Siri on our Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Apple TV, so I don’t ever have to go far to find a device with it already.

  2. Great, first there was a microphone listening to everything in my house. Now there is a video camera watching everything in my house too.

    While I like the concept, I just do not trust the security behind any of these nor the companies that make them. Nor the governments and hackers of the world from tapping into them.

    1. If you cannot close a physical shutter on the camera and the opening for the mike- no thank you.

      I have a webcam- connected by a USB cable that I can unplug- and have no interest in Big Brother sitting in my Living Room.

      It amazes me that the Millennials happily send sexually explicit pictures over insecure networks on marginally secure devices and seem to care not about a hackable camera and microphone in their pocket or home. I would remind you that the Facebook CEO has black tape over his MacBook Pro webcam and is buying more and more land surrounding his home.

      Privacy, it seems, is becoming a rich person’s province instead of every citizen’s right.

  3. Just hideous. It looks like a tiny Samsung tablet with a brick attached to it or videotelephony devices from decades ago. The little original audio echo thingy is visually non-obtrusive (still don’t want one) but this thing: what an embarrassment.

    If you really want this just use your old iPad, or get a new one for $329, plug it in and leave it on your counter.

  4. I’ve had this for years: It is called an iPad with ‘Hey Siri” enabled. To expand the service to millions of installed devices will be iOS 11.

  5. So we all have to stand around this thing to video call – No battery so you can’t move it.. Lame – Oh and they are watching and listening to you… Sacry

  6. It seems to me that there’s plenty of computing power in the AppleTV G4 to do all this. Plug a camera-with-mic into the USB port, use your (50″+) TV as the screen, and Echo Show is an also-ran.

    Not that Apple will actually do this.

  7. Valid privacy concerns aside and just considering currently shipping Echo devices, many of you have very little experience with the Echo and Alexa, and you completely miss the attraction of the devices even to longtime Apple users like me. Ecosystem is a big part of it, and if you are a member of Amazon Prime, it leverages the included Prime Music subscription which has all the music I personally need, and Alexa will play what I want when I ask without needing to pull out another Apple device. The full size Echo has amazing sound for its size, you don’t need to have a computer or HD display turned on, and Alexa’s ability to understand commands and questions is sometimes amazing, even while she’s playing music, and certainly better than Siri. If Alexa doesn’t know about something you do, you can train her with a “Skill” you can program yourself, or search the skills for one someone else created.
    Considering Apple’s head start with Siri, it’s ridiculous how far behind they’ve fallen.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.