Amazon preps rival to Apple’s AirPods as its first Alexa wearable

“Amazon.com Inc. is trying a new way to take its Alexa digital assistant mobile: wireless earbuds that mirror Apple Inc.’s popular AirPods,” Mark Gurman reports for Bloomberg. “The Seattle-based e-commerce giant is readying earbuds with built-in Alexa access for as early as the second half of this year, according to people with knowledge of the plans. Like the AirPods, the Amazon earbuds are designed to sit inside users’ ears without clips around the ear.”

“The headphones will let people use their voice to order goods, access music, weather and other information on the go. The Amazon digital assistant will be summoned by saying “Alexa.” There will be physical gesture controls, such as tapping to pick up and end calls and switch between songs, the people said,” Gurman reports. “The earbuds will come in a storage case that doubles as a charger.”

New AirPods build on the magical experience customers love delivering 50 percent more talk time, hands-free “Hey Siri” and the option of a new Wireless Charging Case.
New AirPods build on the magical experience customers love delivering 50 percent more talk time, hands-free “Hey Siri” and the option of a new Wireless Charging Case.

 
“Earbuds are a fast-growing category of wearables: 12.5 million pairs were sold in the fourth quarter, according to Counterpoint Research. Apple’s AirPods had 60 percent of this market,” Gurman reports. “After early jokes when AirPods launched in 2016, the product has become a huge hit for Apple, helping to augment slower iPhone sales. The company is working on a third-generation, higher-end pair with noise-cancellation and water resistance, according to people familiar with the plans.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple has a commanding lead here and, if they, after years of bumbling about, finally put the pedal down and rev up Siri, as we believe they will at WWDC 2019 in June, they should be able to keep and even build upon it with AirPods 2 and future-gen wearables.

SEE ALSO:
Head of Apple’s Siri team apparently has been reassigned – February 4, 2019
AI guru John Giannandrea named to Apple’s executive team – December 20, 2018
Former Apple employees on Eddy Cue: Siri and Eddy were ‘a bad fit’ – September 5, 2018
Apple’s Siri improved by 11 percentage points in correct answers over the last 15 months – July 25, 2018
Apple combines machine learning and Siri teams under John Giannandrea – July 10, 2018
Apple’s ‘personal assistant activation’ patent application hints at improved Siri – May 10, 2018
iOS 11.4 will allow Siri to recognize AirPlay commands – May 3, 2018
iPhone X owners are extremely satisfied with basically everything except Siri – April 20, 2018
Apple’s Siri, HomePod and the voice assistant showdown – April 6, 2018
Apple’s A.I. efforts get shot of adrenaline with Giannandrea coup – April 6, 2018
A.I. defector gives Apple access to Google’s secrets – April 6, 2018
Gene Munster: Poaching AI chief John Giannandrea from Google a win for Apple – April 5, 2018
Apple hires Google’s A.I. chief to improve Siri – April 4, 2018

6 Comments

  1. Somehow, Amazon will manage to sell their AirPod knock-offs for half the price Apple is charging and will be highly praised for eating into Apple’s AirPod market share percentage. The Youtubers will curse Apple for over-charging consumers and the tech news media will ponder the death of Apple yet again.

    1. Cheaper is it given based on Apples current pricing model. Amazon likely has a good shot here do to the commanding lead of Alexa versus Siri and the number of customers. Assuming they sound good and connect the well

    2. Exactly..they will sell like hotcakes and bury AirPods because they are less than half the price that Apple is overcharging for theirs. I can’t tell you how many people i know who’ve passed on Airpods because Apple is asking 160 freaking dollars for them. Unbelievable. It probably costs Apple $10-$15 to make airpods and then sell them for $160. As a luxury item that price is fine–but as a longterm mass consumer product, NFW people will go that. Someone like amazon or samsung or any number electronics co’s will eventually create a version at a fraction of the price and kill your market. Yeh the quality won’t always be the same but sometimes it will be close enough to where the consumers will go for that option instead. Someone needs to wake Apple up and let them know it’s 2019..

  2. I would never buy an Alexa speaker because it’s always listening. But I would consider earbuds that are only on when in-ear. Alexa is pretty clearly ahead of Siri in terms of ability to answer questions, so Amazon does have an opening here.

  3. If properly executed, this may be an interesting competition. Alexa in Amazon earpods vs Siri in AirPods. If the right Amazon Skills are developed the total package may actually be something for Apple to be concerned about.

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