Apple’s rumored smart home speaker with Siri, AirPlay and artificial intelligence (AI) features could be announced at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which kicks off with a keynote on June 5. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo estimated in a note to clients Monday that the rumored Siri-based smart speaker has “over 50 percent chance” of making its WWDC debut.
Here’s an excerpt from the note, obtained by MacRumors:
We believe there is an over 50 percent chance that Apple will announce its first home AI product at WWDC in June and start selling in the second half of 2017 in order to compete with the new Amazon Echo models to be launched in the second half of this year.
Kuo expects the device to have “excellent acoustics performance” with a subwoofer and seven tweeters. In terms of CPU, it should be comparable to iPhone 6 or iPhone 6s, suggesting a variant of Apple’s in-house designed A8 or the A9 chip.
We expect Apple’s first home AI product will have excellent acoustics performance (one woofer and seven tweeters) and computing power similar to iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s application processor.
As previously reported, the gizmo should use Beats audio technology and run a variant of iOS.
The device will go head-on against similar AI-driven smart speakers, namely Google Home and Amazon’s range of Echo devices: the standard $180 Echo, the inexpensive $50 Echo Dot and the new $200 hands-free Echo Look camera for wannabe fashionistas.
Kuo concludes his note by predicting that an Apple-branded Siri speaker will be most likely positioned as a high-end device, probably costing more than the Echo devices.
Australian leakster Sonny Dickson recently learned from insiders that Apple has now finalized the device’s design around a Mac Pro-like concave appearance.
The gadget should be built by AirPods manufacturer Inventec.
Kuo predicted Siri device shipments of around twelve million units in its first year of availability, potentially introducing extended models in the future like Amazon. Apple’s W1 chip, which debuted in AirPods, could play a key role in the product, said the analyst.
The market for smart home devices could outsell Apple’s iPad in 2018, Kuo added.
Mockup via iFunnyVlogger on Twitter