Apple’s iOS 10 is awesome in a lot of ways. One of its future ready features that is likely to have a huge impact in the technologies of tomorrow is the Home hub. Aimed towards controlling the smart homes of tomorrow, the app offers a central dashboard for devices — many of which are mere concepts or prototypes at the moment. However, Apple may soon be getting into one important niche of these connected application — by launching its own Echo competitor.
In a bid to make Siri the center of its smart home strategy — similar to how Alexa is at the center of Aamzon’s — Apple may be working upon a smart home hub along the lines of Amazon’s Echo/Dot/Tap range of speakers. Such a device could easily be made compatible with Apple’s Siri AI and would enable the user to control stuff by using the AI in conjunction with the Home hub.
The potential is huge. Amazon’s Echo was undoubtedly a success –and we are not talking about just the financial aspect here either — but rather, the success of an idea. Echo showed that provided the device is awesome, you can induce people to be willing to control stuff through their voice alone. Apple has been quietly laying the groundwork for smart, connected ecosystems for years — as we saw with the Home hub in the latest version of its operating system. And now, it may be about to up the game by letting Siri in on the arena.
According to Bloomberg, Apple started R&D on an Echo-like product and it is finally ready to enter the prototype testing phase. The device is quite similar to Echo and is designed to control appliances, locks, lights and curtains through voice activation. However, knowing Apple, its probably going to stock the device with a whole lot more than just voice control.
As per a person aware of the developments but unwilling to be identified, Apple’s device will likely come with more advanced microphone and speaker technology — an area where its experience with Siri is bound to come in handy. Some of the prototypes in development also included facial recognition, so we may perhaps be looking at custom profiles depending upon who is ordering Siri around.
A lot of features already available to Siri on the iPhone series may also make their way to the device. So, you could still ask the AI to read e-mails, send text messages and Tweets,play music and so on.
The move certainly makes sense. Apple has been looking at sales that are slowly but surely slowing down. The iPhones are Apple’s crown jewel and with the smartphone market reaching saturation, the top brass at the company is feeling the pressure to launch into alternate verticals or launch new innovative products. Which is exactly where the prototype we have been discussing comes into the picture.
The company is also looking to significantly ramp up Siri’s capabilities. Apparently, there is a secret Invisible Hand project going on through which, Apple also hopes to provide users with the ability to fully control their devices through a Siri command system. And by control, we mean control everything. Like literally place your iPhone on a table and do everything you would normally do without once using your fingers. Awesome right?
So yes, Apple probably has a lot of other interesting stuff going on apart from its iPhones, iPads and Mac. However, we are going to have to wait for an official announcement to know more details, which may yet be some time in coming.