Apple Reportedly Developing Siri Powered Amazon Echo Rival But Alexa Isn’t Sweating It

The smart home category is one of the fastest growing segments and everyone wants a piece of it. That includes Apple, which is looking for another breakout product like the iPhone. Apparently Apple believes that product could be a smart home device similar to Amazon's Echo gadget, but powered by Siri instead of Alexa and sporting a few additional bells and whistles.

People who claim to be familiar with Apple's plans say that Apple began work on the smart home device two years ago, and that the project just recently exited the research and development phase. Apple has yet to finalize plans for whatever hardware it's cooked up and it could even decide to sideline or trashcan the project altogether, though given the success of Echo, it would be surprising if Apple didn't see this thing through.

Amazon Echo Speaker
Apple is said to be finalizing a smart home speaker to compete with Amazon's Echo (shown above)

Similar to Echo, Apple's unnamed smart home speaker would be capable of controlling other Internet connected appliances and could lock and unlock doors, dim the lights, and so on. Users would be able to bark commands to Siri, many of which would be the same that are available through the iPhone. For example, a user could ask Apple's smart home gadget to read an email message, set a reminder, stream music, and so forth.

Apple wouldn't be breaking new ground here. It would be competing against both the Echo and Google Home, two major alternatives in the smart home space, though some of the current prototypes feature differentiating technologies such as facial recognition sensors. It's worth mentioning that Apple purchased a pair of facial recognition startups, Faceshift and Emotient, and it could integrate those technologies into its smart speaker.

If Apple goes through with this, it would be its first major new hardware release in a long time, at least in terms of a new product category. Apple frequently upgrades its existing hardware lines, such as the iPhone and its various Macs, but this would be a brand new product and the most noteworthy since the Apple Watch came out two years ago.