Apple VP Phil Schiller Implies Voice-Activated Smart Speakers Could Benefit From a Screen

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 6, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Gadgets 360 published an interview with Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller this week that could shed some light on Apple's plans for a dedicated Siri-based voice-assistant for the home. Rumors have swirled in recent weeks about Apple's plans to unveil an Amazon Echo-like smart connected speaker, possibly as early as WWDC in June, so Schiller's thoughts on the topic could potentially relate to the way Apple is approaching the design of its Echo rival.

    During the interview, Schiller demurred when asked what he thought about Amazon's Echo and Google Home, but his comments clearly imply that the two speakers leave a lot to be desired: "My mother used to have a saying that if you don't have something nice to say, say nothing at all." More revealingly perhaps, Schiller took pains to distinguish between different usage scenarios for voice assistants: handsfree, such as while driving, when simple voice-activation is convenient - but limited - and most other occasions when the availability of a screen is preferred.

    Schiller continued his argument for voice assistants with screens using the example of photography and photo sharing. "With all the social networking apps that are now embracing photos more and more, well, it doesn't work really so great in voice-only assistants," said Schiller. The same goes for games, he said, calling them the "biggest category of all".
    Schiller ended his comments on the topic by calling the dual role of voice-assistants "an interesting discussion", especially with respect to "when each is appropriate, and what they can do in our lives".

    It's unclear how Schiller's comments fit in with the recent uptick in rumors that Apple is working on a Siri-based smart speaker for the home. Often-reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities has said the product will double up as an AirPlay speaker and feature a custom W1 Bluetooth chip for easy pairing, while Sonny Dickson has suggested the device will run a variation of iOS and have a Mac Pro-like concave top with built-in controls. However, none have claimed Apple is working to integrate a screen into the device.

    By contrast, recent alleged leaks have suggested Amazon's next-generation Echo could have a built-in touchscreen and camera with the potential to support phone and video calls.

    In the Gadgets 360 interview quoted from above, Schiller also spoke about other topics, including Apple's Swift programming language, and the company's app subscription model as it relates to developers and users of the App Store. You can read the full interview here.

    Article Link: Apple VP Phil Schiller Implies Voice-Activated Smart Speakers Could Benefit From a Screen
  2. otternonsense macrumors 65816


    Jul 25, 2016
    Here's a tip, Phil: fix Siri first, make grandiose comments later.
  3. RickInHouston macrumors 65816

    May 14, 2014
    Could it be because Siri isn't really that good?
  4. swingerofbirch macrumors 68040

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    A display doesn't make sense on Google Home/Alexa type devices. If you're close enough to use a display, it's not really an omnipresent house wide product and you might as well use a phone. If it's connected to a TV, that's still fairly limited.

    I don't think these comments imply Apple would make a device like Alexa with a screen. He said that a screen makes sense in certain situations. For an omnipresent household device I don't see how a screen makes sense unless it's somehow magically projecting things in front of you from wherever you are.
  5. Aston441 macrumors 65816

    Sep 16, 2014
    Well of course. How else could Siri show me Some Results I Found On The Web because she is a brain damaged retard and can't do anything besides Bing searches?

    Alexa stands on her own.

    Siri will need to be supported by a big (expensive) screen or she'll fall down. I'm feeling a thick $499 iPad with a big speaker coming on here lol!
  6. chr1s60 macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    Similarly, people could benefit from doing things without "smart" speakers.
  7. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Jul 16, 2002
    Is there new information here? iDevices have screens. CarPlay has a screen. ATV4 is connected to a screen. Macs have, or are connected to, a screen.

    If there is an allusion to an Apple smart speaker here I don't see it. But if it's buried in there, let Apple make whatever device it thinks we need and we'll see if we need it. As a HomeKit adopter though what I want is a smarter Siri and an Apple version of a low cost Echo Dot I can litter the home with. As of now nothing Schiller says makes me want a video Echo. I have an iPad for that. It also sounds expensive, again no thanks, not what I'm looking for.
  8. kodos macrumors 6502

    May 1, 2010
    Stay classy, Phil. Cannot find a single nice thing to say about them? Here's one - they are both better than Siri.
  9. WatchFromAfar Suspended


    Jan 26, 2017
    Isn't Siri with a screen just literally every computing device Apple currently sells? By providing a screen Apple would be admitting that their voice technology isn't good enough to compete and if that's the case they should forget the idea altogether and leave it to those who believe they can make voice only interaction a viable solution.
  10. Sirious macrumors 65816


    Jan 2, 2013
    United Kingdom
    I predict the name will be something like: "Apple Home"!
  11. xnu macrumors 6502


    Jul 15, 2004
    So a phone. Make a phone. Siri with a screen.

    Fix Siri, no screen. Or maybe it will be the second product we can use the Apple Pencil with.
  12. Rob_2811 macrumors 68000

    Mar 18, 2016
    United Kingdom
    Haven't they already trademarked Home Hub?
  13. Jason_G macrumors member

    Feb 24, 2009
    London, UK
    Could he be implying that the results of a query to a Siri-based voice-assistant for the home, are handed off to the user's iDevice screen?
  14. Porco macrumors 68030


    Mar 28, 2005
    If they'd they kept the iPod Hi-Fi around another decade they could have just changed the internals and dock connector and be done!

    (I'm only half-joking...)
  15. BruceEBonus macrumors 65816


    Sep 23, 2007
    Derbyshire, England
    2017 really IS the POGO (Put Out Or Get Out) year for Apple.

    A LOT of smoke and mirrors last year and this year and diversionary tactics employed.

    Samsung have sold and are outselling the iPhone. Google is winning the AI war. MS winning the laptop war and Apple still having a go with their old iPads. But with tablet sales falling globally and Apple neglecting their original Mac market - 2017 has to be their year to prove they've not gone laz(ier) and actually bring something out that will make them stand out from the competition instead of just charity meals and RED paint schemes. Their shares keep rising despite years of stagnation. Will the name and glory years hold out on that alone? I say not. 2017 - Apple's POGO year. You read it here first.

    ("Yeah, right. Gerroff!"-MR Ed.)
  16. H2SO4 macrumors 601

    Nov 4, 2008
    I’m sure all those sad fools using 5 year old PCs, (and Macs?), will agree you are a lovely chap Phil.
  17. haydn! macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    So basically what he just described is an iPad, with "hey Siri" enabled, stood on a dock on a shelf in someone's lounge. #innovation
  18. Pagemakers macrumors 68020


    Mar 28, 2008
    Manchester UK
    I have 5 Echo's in my house. It's good but limited. When you ask for train times for example and it reels on 5 it's difficult to remember the reply. So for me Echo with a screen makes perfect sense and if it materialises I for one will be upgrading.
  19. jonnysods macrumors 603


    Sep 20, 2006
    There & Back Again
    Don't go into this market Phil...

    Also Siri is a pain at the best of times. I think they need to adjust their privacy policy to at least collect data so they learn about each user. Not sell the data, keep it and learn. Give me the option of turning that on or off.

    One massive gripe is not being able to use Siri to skip songs on my AirPods if I have no internet connection. That's nuts.
    --- Post Merged, May 6, 2017 ---
    Also if I have my phone, iPad close by or my watch on and I yell out "hey Siri", how is that going to work out?
  20. StoneJack macrumors 65816


    Dec 19, 2009
    Samsung Galaxy is not outselling Apple and MS is not winning laptop wars, you might want to check facts, feel free to google.
  21. iSee macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2004
    Actually, people have never stopped saying this. ;)

    I think Schiller means their home smart speaker will be tightly integrated with your phone or iPad. You'll be able to start the "conversation" by speaking to the speaker and finish is -- seemlessly -- on your iDevice. From Phil's example, you'll see the map of the route you were talking about or see the photos you asked for.

    By the way, one main reason Siri sucks sometimes isn't Siri itself, it's the mic. Hopefully, a smart speaker could solve that part of it.
  22. Woyzeck macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2012
    Maybe they could although benefit from a working Siri.
  23. fischersd macrumors 601


    Oct 23, 2014
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    I've said it before, saying it again - the ATV4 had enough horsepower to be the hub for home automation. Add to that, that they could easily have done grid computing with all of your Apple devices in your home - the more you buy into the ecosystem, the more intelligent your assistant will be. (could have built that into iTunes to snag CPU cycles from your Windoze boxes too).

    Why Apple didn't snag the guys that created Siri and keep them in house so they could continue to evolve it?! They're too far behind now...
  24. mixy macrumors newbie

    Apr 9, 2012
    Imagine this - a smart speaker that is connected via iCloud to all of your other Apple devices (AirPods already do that). So if a result of your voice query requires a visual, it can deliver it to any of your other Apple devices with a screen in your proximity. If you are in your living room, that can be your TV (via Apple TV) or your iMac, the iPad in your kitchen can display a recipe or your iPhone can display directions as you leave your home. The next level of continuity + really leveraging the ecosystem. And no need for yet another device with a dedicated screen, when all your other devices already have one.

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