Apple Not Planning to Compete With Amazon Echo, Google Home: Report

The Amazon Echo and Google Home are both incredible AI-powered devices. The smart speakers both have the ability to answer your simple questions, give you directions, and stream your favorite music. They have both proven incredibly popular as well, with Amazon’s Echo selling an estimated 11 millions units. So why doesn’t Apple want in on this seemingly-lucrative corner of the industry?

According to a new report from Time, Apple simply doesn’t find it necessary to create a dedicated, AI-powered smart device such as the Echo or the Home. Apple’s AI assistant, Siri, first introduced back in 2011 (!), proved to be a hit with iPhone users. Seeing its success, competitors soon scrambled to develop their own voice-only artificial intelligence assistants that strive to dominate in the smart home. Enter devices such as the Echo and Home.

So why doesn’t Apple follow suit? According to Time‘s Tim Bajarin, Apple has “no apparent interest” in replicating the Alexa or Echo families of devices. Referencing discussions with unnamed Apple executives, the report details that the future goal of Apple’s AI technology is to utilize Siri as an “omnipresent AI assistant across devices” rather than have a central hub.

Basically, Apple is more interested in turning Siri available across all of its devices rather than designing a single device specifically to serve as a Siri machine.

“Delivering an AI assistant that’s with you all the time, rather than tethered down to a single device, is a better and more useful solution,” reads the Time report. “While a fixed-point device like the Echo clearly has its place, it will be an omnipresent platform that wins the AI wars.”

The report comes on the heels of another claiming Apple is planning another full revamp of Siri. Although what exactly the company has in mind for the revamp it yet to be known, the company did purchase machine learning startup Turi last year, so one can only imagine it would incorporate some aspect of the startup’s technology.

“Look at the core technologies that make up the smartphone today and look at the ones that will be dominant in smartphones of the future —like AI,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview in August discussing artificial intelligence company acquisitions. “AI will make this product even more essential to you.”

World-traveling, tech-savvy, music-producing writer obsessed with all things Apple, video games, and the finer things in life, e.g. mezcal and tacos. When I'm not writing I'm exploring new places, eating new foods, and generally trying to be a decent human.

  • artikas

    I kind of agree with Tim Cook on this. A streamlined experience across all devices where you could for example ask siri on your iphone to play a movie on your AppleTV or use siri on your ipad to open a browser session on your mac would make an additional stand alone unit like a amazon echo kind of useless. Excited to hear what others think about Apples approach with this.

  • Kirk

    Totally agree as well. I would rather Apple improve Siri across multiple devices

  • Tim

    I agree with the strategy too, but it’s also an easy position to take when you have the worst AI assistant on the market.

  • artikas

    Have to agree with you Tim. At this point I’m just hoping that the lack of intelligence Siri is producing is because the Siri team is revamping Siri to a whole nother level which left the current algorithm used outdated as it wouldn’t be worth the resources. Or they really just dropped the ball on a potentially huge game changer.

  • raslucas

    From a Homekit perspective, I actually hope they improve the apps, rather than the siri aspect… I cannot believe that there’s no Homekit support for lightswitches… (You think there is, and they say there is but there actually isn’t.) You can use Homekit to control a smart lightswitch, but you cannot use a lightswitch to control another homekit device. Like having a Lutron Caseta light switch control its own lights, but also the philips Hue lightbulb in the lamp on the other side of the room.

    They need to figure THAT out and stop worrying about voice controls.