KGI: Siri home speaker to sport physical controls via dedicated touch panel

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted that Apple’s rumored Siri home speaker will support physical control via a dedicated touch panel. He expects the device to debut at WWDC next month alongside the “announcement of software development details for home AI”.

In his report to clients Saturday, seen by MacRumors, Kuo did not specify if the AI-driven speaker might feature a built-in touchscreen display or use a set of capacitive physical buttons for things like volume and playback control.

Here’s an excerpt from Kuo’s note:

In our April 28 Insight report (“Apple’s first home AI product to see cyclical shipments of over ten million units; main competitor is Amazon Echo”), we offered estimates for the new home AI/Siri speaker line. We also believe this new product will come with a touch panel.

For what it’s worth, Australian leakster Sonny Dickson claimed in April to have learned from insiders that the smart home accessory will be fat, featuring a Mac Pro-like concave top with built-in controls and a speaker mesh portion covering it all.

Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, recently speculated that voice-activated home accessories could benefit from the inclusion of a screen.

“There are many moments where a voice assistant is really beneficial, but that doesn’t mean you’d never want a screen,” Schiller said.

“So the idea of not having a screen, I don’t think it suits many situations.”

Last year, Bloomberg listed some of the device’s potential features:

  • Control home appliances, locks, lights, curtains and other HomeKit devices
  • More advanced always-on mic and speaker than Amazon Echo or Google Home
  • Facial recognition to see folks in the room and determine their emotional state
  • Built-in speaker for wireless music playback
  • Built-in Siri would process many of the commands available on iPhone

If you ask CNET, it may include built-in cameras as well:

For example, users may be able to ask the device to read e-mails, send text messages and tweets, and stream content from Apple Music. Apple has also considered integrating mapping information into the speaker, potentially allowing the device to notify a user when it’s time to leave the house for an appointment.

Apple reportedly started work on the project in 2014, right after debuting HomeKit.

Previously, Kuo predicted that the accessory would provide “excellent acoustics performance” with a subwoofer, seven tweeters, always-on microphone and computing power similar to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s application processors. Australian leakster Sonny Dickson claimed the Siri speaker should use Beats audio technology and run a variant of iOS.

Subscribe to iDownloadBlog on YouTube

The rumored device should be built by AirPods manufacturer Inventec.

Given his prediction that the market for smart home devices might outsell the iPad market next year, Kuo forecast Siri device shipments of around twelve million units in its first year of availability. Apple’s W1 chip, which debuted in AirPods, could play a key role in the product.

Apple is likely to launch additional models of the Siri speaker in the future, he added.

Kuo has given Apple’s rumored Amazon Echo competitor 50-50 odds and the rumored 10.5-inch iPad Pro model more than 70-30 odds of being announced at the Cupertino company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference next month.

WWDC 2017 kicks off with a keynote address at 10:00am Pacific Time on Monday, June 5.

Mockup via iFunnyVlogger on Twitter