Bloomberg: Ap­ple prep­ping Ama­zon Echo-like de­vice

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - – TNS

Ama­zon’s Echo AMA­ZON’S ECHO smart speaker may soon have some new com­pe­ti­tion — from Siri.

Ap­ple is re­port­edly in the pro­to­type stage of de­vel­op­ing its an­swer to Ama­zon’s pop­u­lar de­vice, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port from Bloomberg.

Sim­i­lar to Echo, the de­vice would al­low users to use Siri to con­trol their home through voice, is­su­ing com­mands to con­trol ev­ery­thing – from lights to locks to ther­mostats – some­thing re­ferred to as home au­to­ma­tion.

Ap­ple has dab­bled in this space the past few years through its HomeKit pro­gramme, al­low­ing ap­pli­ance man­u­fac­tur­ers to cre­ate in­ter­net-con­nected prod­ucts that can be con­trolled from an iPhone, iPad or Ap­ple TV through Siri.

AD­VANCED SPEAKER TECH­NOL­OGY

While sim­i­lar in over­all func­tion­al­ity to Echo, one of the ways Ap­ple’s smart de­vice may at­tempt to dif­fer­en­ti­ate it­self is with more “ad­vanced mi­cro­phone and speaker tech­nol­ogy”, two un­named peo­ple told Bloomberg, though what this ex­actly would mean is un­clear. Ap­ple also has re­port­edly been ex­per­i­ment­ing with putting cam­eras on its de­vices to al­low for the prod­uct to do fa­cial recog­ni­tion.

Since mak­ing Echo widely avail­able in 2015, Ama­zon has surged to an early lead in the race to con­trol the home. The $179.99 Echo is the top-sell­ing home­au­toma­tion prod­uct on the com­pany’s web­site, with a 4.4 out of 5-star rat­ing on more than 43,000 re­views.

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