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.”