Apple's Version Of A Connected Speaker To Debut Later This Year

According to a Bloomberg report, Apple might announce a new hardware that may be termed as the "Siri Speaker" at this year's WWDC. And given the nascent smart speakers and smart home devices market, the growth opportunity is big.

Siri Speaker is expected to be tied deeply to Apple HomeKit to support home automation devices. Although Siri first launched in 2011, long before voice assistants from Google and Amazon, users must now interact with it via Apple's existing products, including Macs, iPhones, and the Apple TV.

"This will be a platform for developing Apple's services", says Gene Munster, a co-founder of Loup Ventures and former Apple analyst. Apple's new launched AirPod wireless headphones are too made by the same manufacturer.

Chief executive officer Tim Cook has emphasised Apple's services businesses over the past 18 months as iPhone sales slowed. He expects service revenue to double by 2020 from last year's US$24 billion (RM103 billion).

The long-awaited Siri Speaker will likely be finding its way onto home countertops later this year.

Other than this, Apple is also expected to unveil its latest product software during the keynote, including iOS 11, the latest version of macOS, and updates to watchOS and tvOS. That would make it slightly larger than the 9.7-inch screen version of its current iPad Pro, but smaller than the 12.9-inch model.

A new report also suggests that the Siri speaker will be a similar affair to what was found on the Sonos PLAYBASE and PLAYBAR, which offer virtual surround sound that fills the room.

As well as overlooking Amazon's Alexa or Google's AI in favour of its own Siri assistant, Apple's connected speaker will reportedly pack virtual surround sound technology.

This was a concept that Sonos tried to rollout but abandoned it because of a lack of consumer interest. It did not work with Android based devices. The speaker will be integrated with Apple's Homekit, which will allow you to control lights, temperature, door locks, etc. Apple, Amazon and Google are among the most innovative companies of this century and have created hundreds of billions of dollars in shareholder wealth over the past decade.

One area Apple has yet to penetrate is the smart home.

  • Zachary Reyes