Apple’s major product releases for this year, including the next version of the iPhone, probably won’t be announced until September, but we may get one big product announcement at the tech giant’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June. If the rumors are true, this one would be in direct competition with two of the most popular devices from Amazon and Google, Amazon Echo and Google Home.
Amazon’s Alexa responds to queries through the Echo, Google’s Google Assistant provides recipes through Google Home, and, soon, Apple’s Siri might have a speaker of her own. According to 9to5Mac, well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that the speaker will come equipped with a subwoofer and seven tweeters, a type of loudspeaker. Impressive sound quality aside, the Siri-powered speaker will fit into the Apple ecosystem and integrate with all other iOS products, from your iPhone to your MacBook Pro. If Kuo's speculation is correct, Apple will announce the speaker in early June, but it won't actually go on sale until late 2017.
"Will they or won't they" seems moot at this point. For Apple to compete with Google Home and Amazon Echo, it will need a smart speaker of its own. The real question, then, is what will the speaker look like? Will it be on the smaller side like the Echo Dot? Perhaps it will find some middle ground between the tall cylindrical Echo and the shorter, rounder Google Home. If we had to guess, we'd say the speaker will mirror the qualities Apple emphasizes in its other products, with a design that's sleek, light, and modern.
Unfortunately, these are all questions that Google Assistant, Alexa, and even Siri can't provide the answers to yet. But come early June, we may get a first look and listen at what's to come.