While iOS 10’s much-needed Home app for controlling all your HomeKit-compatible smart home devices is a step in the right direction, the company may need an Echo rival of its own.
Apple is reportedly working on an Echo-like smart home device according to Bloomberg.
This report corroborates a earlier one from The Information earlier this year that Apple was developing its own Echo-like product based around Siri.
Siri could also have the ability to read aloud emails, send messages and tweets, etc.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who is notorious for accurately leaking new Apple products ahead of their announcements, says Apple has been working on the Echo competitor for over two years. The project is moving along and in the prototype phase, but could be potentially killed.
Apple may utilize more sensors such as facial recognition sensors and more powerful speakers according to the report.
Siri could also have the ability to read aloud emails, send messages and tweets, stream music from Apple Music and provide mapping info.
More notable in the report is an Apple plan called “Invisible Hand,” which would let users “fully control their devices through a Siri command system within three years.” The report cites several use cases such as opening a web page on an iPhone and then sharing with a friend without opening Siri, printing a document by saying “print” and saying “help” to provide assistance with an app or task.
With the Echo, Amazon snuck in and all but took over the smart home. The device’s Alexa voice assistant now supports over 1,000 “skills” and connects to dozens of third-party smart devices such as Philips’ Hue smart lights and more.
At Google I/O, Google praised Amazon for getting voice controls right. The company’s response is Google Home, which launches later this year and leverages its powerful search and Google Assistant for voice commands.
If Apple were to release its own Siri-powered Echo/Home competitor, it would be playing catch up.