The Amazon Echo and Google Home challenger, which will be powered by digital assistant Siri and will support AirPlay, is the subject of the latest note by famed Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities.
Apple Siri Speaker: What Do We Know?
Kuo, in a note sent to clients, corroborated with the claim of Australian leaker Sonny Dickson that Apple may launch the rumored Siri speaker this summer at the annual WWDC. The analyst said that there is more than 50 percent chance that Apple will unveil the device at the upcoming event.
Kuo, who has a strong track record of predicting Apple's moves, said that the upcoming device will be an internet-connected speaker that will compete directly with the Amazon Echo and Google Home. It will be able to collect data for the improvement of user experience from the massive installed base of Apple products such as iPhones and Mac computers.
According to Kuo, Apple's Siri speaker will feature seven tweeters, one woofer, and computing power that will be similar to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. These premium parts lead to Kuo's assumption that the device will come with a price tag that is higher than the $179 Amazon Echo.
Kuo believes that Apple will tap Inventec, the company that assembles the AirPods, as the contract manufacturer for the Siri speaker. The analyst further claimed that the two companies have been collaborating for over two years on home products powered by artificial intelligence.
In the note, Kuo predicted that Apple will have cyclical shipments for the rumored device, with a new model released after every 12 months to 18 months with 10 million to 12 million units each time. There could also be variations coming to the Siri speaker, similar to the various models of the Amazon Echo.
One advantage that Kuo highlighted for the Siri speaker is language support. While Alexa, the digital assistant that powers the Amazon Echo, is only capable of understanding English, Siri supports 18 languages.
"The market for home AI products (supporting voice assistance and IoT functions) is growing too rapidly for Apple to ignore," wrote Kuo.
Will Apple Succeed With The Siri Speaker?
While it is far too early to speculate on the success of the device, Kuo noted that the Siri speaker is positioned for the high-end market, with the promise of better sound quality and an improved entertainment experience.
The description falls in line with the earlier report that stated that the device will integrate Beats technology. Another previously stated detail for the Siri speaker is that it will come with a variation of Apple's iOS, similar to the Apple Watch's watchOS and the Apple TV's tvOS. This is important because this would mean that third-party developers will be allowed to create apps for the Siri speaker.
Such a feature would instantly make the Siri smart speaker a worthy challenger to the Amazon Echo, which also comes with Alexa skills that are made by third-party developers.