The Amazon Echo is one of the most innovative
tech products in recent years.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple is currently finalizing designs for its Amazon Echo
competitor, claims renowned Apple tipster Sonny Dickson.

According to
Dickson, the Echo rival is likely be “marketed as an
Siri/AirPlay device,” representing the next step in Siri’s
evolution. It is also set to involve some form of Beats
technology, and will run an operating system based on iOS.
Color us cautiously intrigued!

Apple’s Amazon Echo rival


There’s no
more information in Dickson’s
tweets, but this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about a
standalone Siri device. A previous report suggested that

Apple began tentative work on an Echo rival two years
ago, and entered the prototype testing phase late last
year.

While
it would share the ability of the Amazon Echo to look up
information and control smart home appliances using voice
recognition, the big differentiator supposedly would be the
device’s ability to use facial-recognition technology to detect
users’ emotional states.

Why we need a standalone Siri device


I’ve
written before that I’d love to see Apple produce an innovative
standalone Siri device. The Echo is one of the more
original tech products I used last year, and a move in that
direction makes sense for Apple, particularly as the
company continues to embrace
services as well as hardware as a revenue stream.


Apple was
one of the first companies to explore virtual assistants with
Siri, which

debuted
on the iPhone 4s in 2011. However, in recent years Apple has
given up a lot of ground to its rivals, which now frequently
outperform Siri in both functionality and quality of voice
recognition.

Apple is reportedly trying to catch up, though. In addition a
bigger investment in artificial intelligence, the company is
busy working on innovative tech like the ability for Siri to

recognize individual users’ voices — something that could
function as a form of biometric security system.

Would you like to see a standalone Siri? Leave your comments
below.

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