When Amazon infused its Alexa digital assistant into a cylindrical device and called it Echo, many were left scratching their heads. "Who on Earth would need such a thing?" Well, Echo might be the perfect example of something you don't realize is cool, or useful, until you actually use it. If you want proof that Echo has merit (in addition to reading our review), just take a look at all of the other companies making similar products. Apparently, even Apple is planning on getting in on the action.
According to CNET, Apple's Echo fighter could come in the form if a simple speaker just like Amazon's product, but the Cupertino company could one-up Echo and every other competitor by including a camera on the device.
We're sure that a camera wasn't a feature Amazon glossed over, but instead chose to not include for a reason. Apple, however, could have specific use cases that could warrant it. At least, we'd hope so, as most people are not willing to put more cameras they don't have full control over in their house.
What could Apple's camera accomplish? A likely scenario is that the device would detect who's in the room, so as to customize the experience on-the-fly. As an always-on device, it could also be used as a modest security camera, if the storage space can support it (or if it can offload the data to a computer in the house). There are many possibilities, but one thing we can usually expect from Apple is that it has a surprise or two in store for everything it releases, so it could be the company has other use cases most of us won't think of.
We're apparently a ways out from a potential launch of Apple's Echo killer, but rumor has it that we could see it before the end of the year, or possibly the start of 2017. We'd imagine less work would have to go into a device like this than, say, a smartphone, so hopefully that timing holds true.