ARTIFICIALLY intelligent home speakers who talk to you and carry out internet-based tasks at your behest are the new big thing in consumer tech.
And Apple is expected to finally join the party in the coming months.
According to a report by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (dubbed the "best Apple analyst on the planet" by some), the tech giant is tipped to launch its own version of a smart home speaker with its famous AI assistant Siri at your beck and call.
The report speculates that Apple will position the device as a more premium product than others on the market with superior acoustics and computing power, and a higher price tag to match.
KGI's report was reticent to speculate on an exact release date but said it could be as early as next month.
Meanwhile Melbourne-based Apple leaker Sonny Dickson has predicted the company would launch the Siri speaker at its annual developers conference in early June, for the device to go on sale in the second half of the year.
Apple has been working to majorly overhaul Siri and it's capabilities, for all devices, but most notably their upcoming smarthome device.— Sonny Dickson (@SonnyDickson) May 1, 2017
The potential home speaker - the likes of which are designed to be the focal point of a connected lounge room - would directly compete with Amazon Echo and Google Home which have carved out a dominant stake in the emerging market.
And this week, we got a hint that Apple's potential offering might look rather different to the home speakers put out by Google and Amazon.
In an interview with Gadgets360, Apple executive Phil Schiller espoused the benefits of having a voice-controlled smart assistant which includes a screen in the design - a feature missing from the Amazon Echo and Google Home speaker.
"There is a lot of talk in the industry about voice-driven assistants and we believe deeply in voice-driven assistants that's why invest in Siri," he said.
"There's many moments where a voice assistant is really beneficial, but that doesn't mean you'd never want a screen. So the idea of not having a screen, I don't think suits many situations," he said.
"For example if I'm looking for directions and I'm using Maps, Siri can tell me those directions by voice and that's really convenient but it's even better if I can see that map."
Apple's developers conference, known as WWDC, will take place on June 5 to 9, 2017 in California.
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