Rumors of an updated Amazon Echo continue to surface. Amazon's slick smart speaker might be getting a timely upgrade in time for the release of the Apple HomePod as the smart speaker race heats on.

There are a couple of indications that point to a new Amazon Echo iteration. First, Amazon put its Echo line of devices, along with Kindle readers, up for a Back to School sale through Sept. 4. Both the Echo and the Echo Dot get huge discounts, and some publications speculate that it's a way to clear stock as the online retail company prepares for the Echo's sequel.

The other indication is that now, the Echo is out of stock. You can probably get one from a Whole Foods physical store, but you can't purchase it online anymore. It remains uncertain why this is. Perhaps Amazon run out of units by putting too much in brick-and-mortar Whole Foods locations.

Still, one simply can't shake off the possibility that an Echo upgrade is in the works, and here's why:

Amazon Echo 2?

The Echo was released back in 2015, and it's 2017 now. In the tech industry, that's a long stretch. Companies usually put out a device and upgrade it year after year, as is the case with smartphones. But present-day Echo is still the Echo from 2015 — internals, design, and such. It's time for an upgrade, Amazon.

Amazon Could Compete With The Apple HomePod

It makes sense from a business perspective too. Unveiling and releasing a brand-new Echo model would give Amazon a chance to release a new smart speaker in time for the holiday season and compete with Apple's HomePod, which launches later this year, with newer hardware.

There's more. The Verge reports that "Amazon Echo 2" came up in an email to Twitch developers on Aug. 29. For the record, Amazon owns Twitch. Make the connection yourself. Granted, Twitch has since clarified that "Echo 2" was simply a typo, but that just adds credence to the whole speculation.

All told, it could also be that the Echo is simply just out of stock. These things almost always happen, anyway — when Amazon puts its smart speaker up for sale, it runs out of stock shortly after.

Still, the thought of a new Echo device that can compete with the HomePod is exciting. The HomePod is technically a smart speaker, but it has a slight edge over the Echo and the Google Home by focusing on its music capabilities and high-fidelity speakers. It remains a question exactly how Amazon plans to improve the Echo, but music and sound quality could be one of the likely paths.

What do you think? Is a new Echo long overdue? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!

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