Apple 'Pressing Ahead' Into Prototype Testing for Echo-Like Smart Home Device Powered by Siri

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple is said to be "stepping up plans" for its connected smart home device powered by Siri, which would rival the technology that Amazon has made popular in its Alexa-enabled Echo speaker system (via Bloomberg). After two years of research and development, the Apple device is said to be in prototype testing, but because Apple hasn't officially finalized any plans it "could still scrap the project."

    Similar to Echo, the Siri device is said to be able to control smart home accessories like lights, locks, and curtains all through voice activation, and would most notably be the first new piece of Apple hardware introduced since the Apple Watch, and the iPad before that. To compete with Amazon -- and Google's own similar device called "Google Home" -- Apple will introduce "more advanced microphone and speaker technology," according to people close to the project. This could potentially include an ecosystem-wide upgrade to Siri's current functionality.

    A few prototypes in testing are said to include technology related to facial recognition, potentially fueled by Apple's acquisition of Faceshift and Emotient, "which may help the device act based on who is in a room or a person's emotional state." Otherwise, the device will be able to perform all of the Siri actions expected of the personal assistant, including responding to text messages, playing music, searching the internet, and more. Apple Maps integration is a possibility, which Apple is considering so Siri could alert you exactly when to leave the house for an appointment.

    Before it moved to a standalone speaker unit, Apple considered introducing Siri into a voice-activated feature on the new Apple TV, but the company decided on a more reliable button addition to the Apple TV remote over shouting commands across a room to activate Siri. In its original testing in 2014, Apple crafted a small and a large version of the Siri speaker, said to be like the Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Dot, "but those early efforts may not translate into a final product."

    The prototype phase has advanced to the point of Apple engineers testing the device in their own homes, according to the individuals with knowledge of the project. As Bloomberg pointed out, while this is not an exact measure of when the Siri speaker might launch, Apple CEO Tim Cook was known to test out the original iPad at his home "for roughly six months before its introduction." Apple employees also tested out the fourth-generation Apple TV about a year before its launch in 2015.

    Ultimately, the Siri speaker is described as a way for Apple to "augment the iPhone," and drive sales for the company's devices following a year where it faced dwindling returns for its iPhone line. Its most recent device launches for the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and Apple Watch Series 2 have all faced the expected initial shortages most Apple products encounter in their first few weeks on the market, but Apple has chosen not to reveal first weekend sales numbers for the iPhone 7 because it feels the results are "no longer a representative metric" due to demand outweighing supply.

    Article Link: Apple 'Pressing Ahead' Into Prototype Testing for Echo-Like Smart Home Device Powered by Siri
  2. Alchemist macrumors regular


    Dec 22, 2004
    I'd really like to see Apple build one of these or possibly integrate the functionality directly into an AppleTV. I'm trying to go down the smart home route and the Echo is quite compelling. I want motion sensing as well as voice control so that lights can intelligently turn on as I move around.
  3. i5pro macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2010
    Maybe i should connect this to my yahoo account, and the "state" sponsored hackers can listen to me
  4. pollaxe macrumors 6502


    Aug 13, 2010
    West of England
    This could be interesting... I've got an Amazon Echo Dot on pre-order but I've been getting privacy-related cold feet over it.

    I wonder if this is the Apple Iris (Siri reversed) thing someone spotted a patent or trademark application for?

    (edit added trademark as I can't remember the exact context in which it was mentioned.)
  5. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Competition is good. It can motivate others- including Apple- to try to one-up each other. Glad we don't get our oft-cast "Die <Apple competitor> Die" and similar wishes.
  6. smacrumon, Sep 23, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016

    smacrumon macrumors 68030


    Jan 15, 2016
    This feature could be built into current devices. Why does anyone need a separate device? It could be built into Apple TV, iMac, Mac mini, it could, surprise, surprise, be built into iPhone! Apple doesn't need to follow the fads. This Amazon device will be in the e-waste landfill soon enough.

    As for the quote:

    The best way to face dwindling returns on the iPhone line could easily be resolved by introducing an
    ALL-NEW iPhone, in all three sizes 4-inch, 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch sizes, dropping the protruding camera and finally dropping the antenna lines.

    Apple needs to get back to making great iPhones, not shiny third generation iPhone 6 models.
  7. TigerWoodsIV macrumors 6502a

    Apr 3, 2010
    Would be sill to scrap it now I imagine. Amazon needs a legit competitor asap. The market is only growing.
  8. shk718 macrumors 65816

    Jun 26, 2007
  9. jmpage2 macrumors 68040


    Sep 14, 2007
    "Me too, me too, me too!!!"

    -Apple CEO Tim Cook

    Too bad Siri absolutely sucks at doing anything useful and this thing would be an epic flop.
  10. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    I don't want an always on camera in my home, it needs one to recognise faces, even from Apple I won't ever want it.
  11. peteullo macrumors regular


    Dec 13, 2009
    Scranton, PA
    --- Post Merged, Sep 23, 2016 ---
    I hope it looks just like this...

    Attached Files:

  12. ralphdaily macrumors regular

    Aug 18, 2008
    Birmingham, AL
  13. sshambles macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2005
    The Amazon Echo might not have sold much, but a Siri-centric device would definitely be worth selling. Would replace whatever Beats pill thing they currently have, as a portable speaker, and no doubt would sell well - especially with Ive's design of it.
  14. DevNull0 macrumors 68000

    Jan 6, 2015
    You know what would be better than a copycat of a silly Amazon toy?

  15. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    So... An AppleTV with a speaker and integrated microphone? AppleTV5 perhaps? I don't see why this should be a standalone product.
  16. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    I've been mildly tempted to try the Echo, but I don't know if I'd get as much practical use out of it for the price. I'll be interested to see what/if Apple comes out with a similar device that would integrate into my iOS and macOS devices and if I could find a way to make good use of it. That is, as long as it's reasonable priced and I don't have to press a button to activate it.. *cough, cough, Siri on macOS cough*.
  17. leroypants Suspended

    Jul 17, 2010
    Tim Cook: That Echo device is great, lets steal the idea and tell people our device is "magical", and then threaten Amazon with patent lawsuits.

    Jony Ivy: On it.
  18. vertical smile macrumors 68030

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    Like the scene from the movie Antitrust with the mood reflecting artwork? Cool, this would be interesting.

    Wasn't there an article a while back saying that the ATV was going to have a similar capability?

    What happened to that? Apple seems to be leading from behind lately.
  19. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    I've been using Siri to control lights/fans/thermostats around the house for a few months now, and recently added my garage door. It's been solid for me.
  20. apolloa macrumors G4

    Oct 21, 2008
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    You must wear one HUGE tin foil hat! But don't worry I'm sure Amazon will enjoy recording and analysing with a fine tooth comb every single thing you say to your Echo :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
  21. zstern702 macrumors member

    Sep 26, 2010
    would really like to see apple "press ahead" with meeting the supply demands of the new products they have brought to market.
  22. pentidoes macrumors 6502


    Jul 20, 2011
    Europe (what's left of it)
    Oh great, Siri will comment then on my lifestyle and what I do: "but, but Pentido"
    and half the time it won't understand the things I say. Except when I start to swear at it, because it's so bad...
  23. blackcrayon macrumors 68000

    Mar 10, 2003
    Yeah and the worst part is, Siri can never be improved and functionality can't be added. Apple should shut down and give the money back to the shareholders!
  24. acctman macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2012
    do people even stop to think for a second before they put out rumors like... "facial recognitions". The room you're entering would always have to be well lit and or some really advance NSA style facial recognition processing going on. Not to mentioning having to capture from a moving target at a distance.
  25. actinide macrumors regular


    Apr 7, 2016
    great more competition !!!!! .....

    ooh no wait Siri.

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