Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, mocked the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices before hinting that the rumored Siri-powered smart speaker will come with a display.
With the shots fired and the hinted feature, Apple's pending entry into the smart speaker market has suddenly become even more interesting.
Schiller Fires Shots at Amazon Echo, Google Home
In an interview with India's Gadgets 360, Schiller was asked to voice his thought on smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo and the Google Home.
Schiller avoided the question, stating that he did not want to talk about either device specifically. This is understandable, as Schiller represents a rival tech company to Amazon and Google. Why would he want to talk products of other companies?
However, Schiller did not end there.
"My mother used to have a saying that if you don't have something nice to say, say nothing at all," Schiller said, before deciding to instead talk about the general concept of smart speakers. By not saying anything about the Amazon Echo and the Google Home, he suggested that he had nothing good to say about the two devices.
Voice Assistants Need Displays
Schiller continued the interview by saying that Apple understands the importance and benefits of voice assistants. This is why the company has made heavy investments into improving Siri.
Schiller agreed that voice assistants are capable of functioning without the need for a screen, such as when users are giving out instructions to Siri so that they would not have to take their eyes off the road.
However, Schiller said that there are situations when voice assistants will need to be paired with a display. One example that he gave is when users ask Siri for directions. While the voice assistant may be capable of providing spoken directions, being able to check the map and the route beforehand is very beneficial for drivers.
The Apple exec added that with Apple's foray into photography, a device without a screen will not be able to take advantage of the features that the company has rolled out for that purpose. Lastly, Schiller noted that games played with voice assistants are nowhere near as fun as those played on a screen.
The Siri Smart Speaker May Come With A Screen
"I think voice assistants are incredibly powerful, their intelligence is going to grow, they're gonna do more for us, but the role of the screen is gonna remain very important to all of this," Schiller said.
Schiller's mockery of the Amazon Echo and the Google Home, along with his insistence that voice assistants will still need to be paired with screens, sent strong signals that Apple will indeed release its own smart speaker soon. In addition, the device will likely have a screen, a feature that is so far absent from the Amazon Echo and the Google Home.
Rumors have surfaced that Apple will unveil a Siri-powered smart speaker at the WWDC next month to be released as a competitor to the Amazon Echo and Google Home. The device is said to come with a higher price tag than the Amazon Echo due to its premium parts. It would appear that a screen is one of the parts that users can expect from the upcoming device.
Leaked images, however, hint that a new version of the Amazon Echo with a touchscreen will soon be released. Amazon has not yet officially announced the product.