After months of speculation, rumor has it that Apple at WWDC today will introduce a new Siri-based smart speaker designed to compete with Amazon’s Echo and Google Home. Though the device may not actually ship for a few more months, there’s mounting evidence which suggests that a product announcement is in the cards for today’s keynote.
Apple of course never enters a new product category solely because it happens to be taking off. Rather, Apple enters a new product category when it can bring something different to the table, as previously demonstrated by both the iPod and the iPhone. With regards to Apple’s rumored Siri speaker, there are a few things Apple can do to differentiate it from competing devices, one of which is to provide a vastly superior audio experience.
Indeed, some of the Siri speaker rumors we’ve seen suggest that Apple is intent delivering incredible acoustics that rival smart speakers simply can’t match. Specifically, Apple’s offering is said to utilize Beats audio technology with analyst Ming-Chi Kuo offering up the following prediction last month.
We expect Apple’s first home AI product will have excellent acoustics performance (one woofer + seven tweeters) and computing power (similar to iPhone 6/6S AP). Therefore the product is likely to be positioned for: (i) the high-end market; (ii) better entertainment experience; and (iii) higher price than Amazon Echo.
More recently, reports surfaced indicating that Apple’s Siri speaker will boast virtual surround sound. This, coupled with speculative reports that Apple’s Siri speaker will be able to link up with the Apple TV as a peripheral speaker, has led some to speculate that Apple’s upcoming speaker might target Sonos.
To this point, Dave Hamilton of The Mac Observer notes:
I would expect a device with seven tweeters to provide truly room-filling sound, perhaps from all angles given that each of those tweeters could be aimed in slightly different directions. This might be something that could pair with an Apple TV and not only play music but also play the audio for your TV shows and movies. The Siri Speaker may be more of a living room device than a kitchen device.
Given the reported Siri Speaker’s enhanced acoustics and higher price points I’m thinking this thing targets the Sonos market: people that care about audio quality. It could perhaps finally be the first device that truly competes with Sonos…
Acoustics aside, there are also rumblings that Apple’s rumored Siri speaker will include a touchscreen of some sort. Design wise, the Siri speaker is said to look similar to Apple’s trashcan Mac Pro. Of course, if you think the Siri Speaker is going to be all hype, you should know that Sonos is giving people a rare opportunity right now to save on its most popular speakers.
Apple’s WWDC keynote today kicks off at 10:00 AM pacific time and we’ll have live coverage of all the biggest announcements.