Last week, we heard that Apple could introduce a Siri-based smart speaker as early as June. Today analytics firm KGI is saying that it expects the same reveal, along with making some predictions about what kind of hardware we’ll see in it. Get ready to potentially spend some money though, because if there’s one theme to KGI’s predictions, it’s “premium.”
According to KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will look to make this smart speaker a fair bit more powerful than Amazon Echo, which could prove to be its main competitor. Kuo, as reported by 9to5Mac, says that this speaker will offer “excellent” sound quality along with a SoC similar to what’s found in the iPhone 6s. If that’s true, then this speaker could far exceed the power offered by Amazon Echo.
Sonny Dickson shared similar information last week, at least in regards to sound quality. Apple is expected to tap the Beats brand for this speaker, using it for the audio hardware. It would make sense, then, that Apple is tipped to offer this as a more premium counterpart to Amazon’s Echo and Google Home.
Keep in mind that what Kuo predicts here may not be a sure thing. Though he thinks that Apple could reveal the speaker at WWDC 2017 and begin shipping it in the latter half of the year, even he admits that he’s not certain about these predictions. So, as with all rumors and speculation, take this with a grain of salt.
Still, Kuo is probably onto something when he says that home AI is a market that Apple can no longer ignore. The building blocks are already in place with tools like Siri, HomeKit, and Apple Home, so a smart speaker that can tie everything together seems like the next logical step. Apple could certainly hit it big by breaking into the smart speaker space, as Kuo says the company could ship as many as 10 million speaker in its first year of availability.
We’ll see if Kuo’s predictions hold any water soon enough, as WWDC 2017 is quickly approaching at the beginning of June. There’s been a growing pile of evidence for such a speaker, so even if it doesn’t get a WWDC reveal, it seems like it won’t be too far off. Stay tuned.