Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a MacRumours said "We believe there is an over 50 per cent chance that Apple will announce its first home AI product at WWDC in June", The report also suggested that the speaker will cost more than the Amazon Echo and will work with AirPlay.
Shares of Apple closed lower on Wednesday.
As expected, the speaker would act as a hub for HomeKit, but it would also serve the additional goal of tying customers more tightly into the Apple ecosystem, and providing a competitive option to the Amazon Echo and Google Home that supports services such as Apple Music, thereby stemming a potential tide of users who might defect to rival services such as Spotify, Amazon Prime, or Google Play after buying a competing smart speaker.
The sources say the speaker will be louder and "reproduce sound more crisply" than the Echo and Google Home, neither of which are too hot as standalone speakers.
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The firm will also likely offer developers the opportunity to implement third-party "skills" with the device, as its competitors already do.
Apple didn't respond to request for comment. Many interpreted that as an indication that Apple was planning to introduce its long-awaited entry to the home automation control market with a device that had a display.
WWDC, Apple's annual conference for software developers, is scheduled to kick off next Monday. Apple could announce updated iPad tablets at the conference, one of the people said. It's not expected to ship until later this year, however. The company has apparently considered building in technology that would be able to acoustically map the space around it, and then adjust its EQ settings accordingly. Last year, Apple opened up Siri on the iPhone to the likes of Uber Technologies Inc. and Facebook Inc., allowing a user to order a ride or send a WhatsApp message with a voice command.
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