Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
AI Communications Google Software Apple Hardware Technology

Apple Is Manufacturing a Siri Speaker To Compete Against Google Home, Amazon Echo (bloomberg.com) 70

According to Bloomberg, Apple is manufacturing a Siri-controlled smart speaker that could debut as soon as its annual developer conference in June. "The device will differ from Amazon's Echo and Alphabet's Google Home speakers by offering virtual surround sound technology and deep integration with Apple's product lineup," reports Bloomberg. From the report: Introducing a speaker would serve two main purposes: providing a hub to automate appliances and lights via Apple's HomeKit system, and establishing a bulwark inside the home to lock customers more tightly into Apple's network of services. That would help combat the competitive threat from Google's and Amazon's connected speakers: the Home and Echo mostly don't support services from Apple. Without compatible hardware, users may be more likely to opt for the Echo or Home, and therefore use streaming music offerings such as Spotify, Amazon Prime Music or Google Play rather than Apple Music. Apple hopes that more advanced acoustics technology will give the speaker an edge over competitors, according to people with knowledge of the product's development. Along with generating virtual surround sound, the speakers being tested are louder and reproduce sound more crisply than rival offerings, the people said. Apple has also considered including sensors that measure a room's acoustics and automatically adjust audio levels during use, one of the people said. Apple will also likely let third-party services build products for the speaker. The device will be a hub for Apple's HomeKit home automation system, letting users control devices such as lights, door locks and window blinds.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Apple Is Manufacturing a Siri Speaker To Compete Against Google Home, Amazon Echo

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Go Tim Go!
  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2017 @06:04PM (#54521285) Homepage Journal
    ....myself voluntarily bugging my house as a tradeoff for some of these perceived benefits.

    I have no inclination to help usher in the early precedents of the "telescreen" from 1984...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      ....myself voluntarily bugging my house as a tradeoff for some of these perceived benefits.

      I have no inclination to help usher in the early precedents of the "telescreen" from 1984...

      That's what makes this device all the more interesting. Remember, to differentiate itself from Google, Apple is on a privacy streak. They're offloading to the device anything that does not require the cloud. If they can run their vision systems offline, Apple is doing it (iPhoto does a lot of the computation on your Mac, which

      • by exomondo ( 1725132 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2017 @06:58PM (#54521687)

        Even Siri is doing less and less on Apple's servers and more locally.

        Siri can't do anything without a connection to Apple's servers. Put your iPhone in Airplane Mode and then Activate Siri:

        Siri not available.
        You are not connected to the internet.

        • For me, the question is where does the remote part end and the local part stop.

          It makes sense that Siri (and Cortana, Google whatever they call it) do their voice processing in a data centre cause there is simply not enough horsepower (yet) on the device itself to do that kind of work.

          But... what happens after that? If the entire conversation involves the data center telling the phone what the user wanted, and the phone then delivers, it's still effectively local. I'm personally inclined to believe that t

          • It makes sense that Siri (and Cortana, Google whatever they call it) do their voice processing in a data centre cause there is simply not enough horsepower (yet) on the device itself to do that kind of work.

            Well it's not just processing the voice to translate what was said, the system needs to interpret what the intention of the action is. You don't learn that effectively by just doing it on individual devices, you need large datasets to understand it. So that it can process the voice, try and understand the intention and then get feedback from the user as to whether this was actually correct.

            But... what happens after that? If the entire conversation involves the data center telling the phone what the user wanted, and the phone then delivers, it's still effectively local.

            That isn't local at all, It's the complete opposite. What you described is the remote server gets the all the voice dat

            • By local, I meant that the commands are processed locally on the data stored on the device, as opposed to the command AND all relevant data sent to the remote server.

              So yeah, the remote server is still issuing the commands to the device. That's unavoidable. But as long as the actually data is processed locally on the device, that's what I was referring to as 'local'.

              And I can't remember the details now as it's been a long time since I used an android device, but it was something along those lines. It was

              • By local, I meant that the commands are processed locally on the data stored on the device, as opposed to the command AND all relevant data sent to the remote server.

                What it needs is context and the more context you expect it to have the more information you need to provide. Simple things that are just effectively voice commands need very little context.

                So yeah, the remote server is still issuing the commands to the device. That's unavoidable. But as long as the actually data is processed locally on the device, that's what I was referring to as 'local'.

                I'm not sure how the examples you listed would work any other way.

  • by omnichad ( 1198475 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2017 @06:08PM (#54521311) Homepage

    Walled gardens have got to go. There's no reason to not offer standard APIs for these services so that "smart" devices can discover or link to anything without built-in support.

    Seriously, there has yet to be a voice-activated home speaker that will play music that you have stored on a computer. This Siri device is likely closest, since it will probably work with iTunes home sharing, but no support for an SMB share full of music files.

    If you want a device to sit in a home for years, it has to be able to grow and adapt. There is just no place for vendor lock-in here.

    • With Google Home, you'll never have to say Siri.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kamapuaa ( 555446 )

      Sorry grandpa, but I don't think "ability to link with a samba drive of bootlegged MP3s" is a hot feature that companies are dying to pick up.

      You your self write about a need to "grow and adapt." Maybe it's time for you to ditch your Napster drive and move on to 21st century technology.

      • Bootlegged MP3's? Because someone can't rip CD's to a perfectly serviceable format? CDs - especially used - are dirt cheap and they make just as good of digital content as native digital as well as serving as their own backup.

        What about legit MP3's purchased from anywhere? I want my iTunes-purchased AACs and Amazon and Google Play purchased MP3's working with any system without uploading them to the cloud. They're already in my house - there's no need to upload them and stream them from outside. And th

        • I take your point but the future is leveraging connectivity such that you can have access to all content wherever you are on whatever device you are using with the ability to download for offline access for when you may not have network connectivity (plane ride, camping, etc).

          It's by no means a perfect solution to cover all use cases and is improving over time but it suits the vast majority just fine even now.

      • Sorry grandpa, but I don't think "ability to link with a samba drive of bootlegged MP3s" is a hot feature that companies are dying to pick up.

        You your self write about a need to "grow and adapt." Maybe it's time for you to ditch your Napster drive and move on to 21st century technology.

        On the one hand, I agree that the complete lack of a set of products catering to end users who would prefer to limit data usage to the LAN only is troubling. On the other hand, for a whole lot of the population, being able to say "hey Alexa, play 'Crystallize' by Lindsey Sterling", and have it start playing three seconds later, with neither the need for a purchase, nor a pre-ripped CD, nor the experience of using Napster/Kazaa/Limewire, is as close to the perfect experience that music listening is going to

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      In fact the services are standard and can link to any device, a hub is needed to convert from the local network to the TCP/IP. Many use ZeeBee. The voice activited smart devices merely supply a link between the devices in the house and the proprietary stack used by Google, Amazon, or maybe Apple.

      The issue is how they monetize the customer. Google is an advertising company, so obviously they are going to advertise, as seen in the controversy over the ads on their Home device. Amazon sells stuff, so the

      • The issue is how they monetize the customer.

        I prefer the old fashioned way - buying the device itself. I would pay a lot more for a device that's designed to actually do what I want it to do. In fact, most of the home automation devices these connect to follow that pricing model.

    • This Siri device is likely closest, since it will probably work with iTunes home sharing, but no support for an SMB share full of music files.

      I'm pretty good at maintaining my music library's metadata, not all are. Many have vastly different ways of organizing their music folders. So how pray tell is this mythical device of yours to determine what song you are actually trying to play, and where to find it? Would you not be frustrated if you ask for "Thunderstruck," the device says it cannot find a song by that name, but you can clearly see "ACDC_RE-Track1.mp3" in the folder "to_sort_later" under your SMB share?

      On of the reasons these devices rely

      • They also badly match songs and if your rip is better quality or from a slightly different recording, you get their version anyway. There are songs on Amazon that have album art from a completely different artist [amazon.com].

        You can always use cloud fingerprinting when metadata is missing without actually playing from the cloud. That can be covered whenever the library is indexed. I have a lot of music with more correct metadata where cloud services won't actually be able to find what I ask for.

      • by crtreece ( 59298 )

        So how pray tell is this mythical device of yours to determine what song you are actually trying to play, and where to find it?

        If you have anything resembling a sane directory structure, plex can sort and categorize your data, find additional metadata and puts a pretty front end on it. I'm not sure if any of that is open source, but it shows it can be done. IIRC, there is, or was, a service that would scan a file and try to determine appropriate metadata. Add those together, and you're mostly there.

        If all of those options fail, it would be easy enough to have a plugin architecture that allows streaming from the music service of

  • Hey Apple produce something of value.
    Remove drudgery:
    1) Fold Laundry
    2) Clean Dishes
    3) Vacuum and dust well (sorry Roomba)
    etc...
    You think the consumer really needs something to play a record for them?

  • ... with smartphones (as well as time wasting). Until there is a radical breakthrough in technology maybe not much will change. Little things like Apple Pay and this is what we get now. Microsoft is ahead of others even with VR/AR and few people want that.

  • by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2017 @07:31PM (#54521905)

    ... making the wheel rounder ...

  • Why can't wikipedia or the apartment CH e foundation make this technology?

    Make this shit open source. There is no reason WikiMedia and/or a foundation like Mozilla, Raspberry Pi foundation, or Apache can't run this technology. There is no way it would be any more difficult than running Wikipedia. Find it by donations. People would donate! Companies that sell the devices would donate, businesses that get orders through it would donate!

  • This is game changing; innovation at it's finest. Apple always have the next big thing!

  • by Patent Lover ( 779809 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2017 @08:43PM (#54522293)
    ... it's white and has rounded corners.
  • AI Siri is dumb. Maybe they could get Tim Cook's mom to play Siri. That would work out much better.
  • Even the most ardent Apple supporter has to admit this isn't the best position to start from (not that I think these home automation devices are of any real use).

"Marriage is low down, but you spend the rest of your life paying for it." -- Baskins

Working...