Siri speaker latest rumours: release date, UK price and features

Rumour has is that Apple will launch a Siri speaker to rival Google and Apple. Read the latest on the Siri Speaker UK launch date, price specs and features.

Apple’s about to announce a rival to the Amazon Echo and Google Home


By | 34 mins ago

Will Apple launch a rival to Amazon Echo[2] and Google Home[3]? It certainly seems so, and the rumours are starting to appear thick and fast after a couple years of speculation that Apple would launch a similar gadget.

If it turns out to be true, Apple is expected to announce it at its annual developer conference – find out what else to expect at WWDC 2017[4].

When is the Siri speaker release date?

Expected launch date: 5 June 2017 Amazon has already stolen a march on the smart home assistant with the Echo and Echo Dot[5], and Google has answered Amazon with its own Google Home[6]. Apple Home rumours - Amazon Echo

Apple’s September 2016 event came and went without so much as a mention of an ‘home speaker’ gadget.

Many dismissed the rumours of such a product because Siri is already at your command in your pocket on your iPhone, and also now in your ear with the new wireless earphones, the AirPods[7]. But with the new rumours, including one that Apple will announce the gadget at its WWDC in June, it could be just about ready to launch later in the year. KGI Securities’ Ming Chi Kuo has released a new report saying there is “more than a 50 percent chance” a Siri peaker will launch at WWDC alongside a new 10.5in iPad Pro.[8][9]

A Bloomberg report[10] in late May made a similar claim, suggesting that the Siri speaker is already being manufactured, and that it will be announced at WWDC for a launch some time later in 2017.

What are the rumoured features?

Assuming it has been designed to do the same job as Amazon and Google’s devices, then it will be a smallish standalone (mains-powered) speaker that has far-field microphones which constantly wait to hear a phrase such as “Hey Siri” so you can ask a question or make a command at any time from anywhere in the room. It should be able to do everything Siri can do now, including answering requests for information, directions, playing music, setting timers, adjusting the temperature and turning on and off appliances and lights. At least one report[11] last year claimed Apple’s Siri speaker was been in development since before the Echo was launched.

The theory about the late launch was that Apple was waiting until developers had added Siri support to their apps before launching such a device. Siri can only be used for certain types of apps, but it should mean that you’re far more likely to want to use the assistant when it can control your favourite apps. And if a dedicated Siri speaker were sitting on your mantelpiece which could relay messages and let you turn off the radiators in the bedrooms upstairs, well, that’d be pretty handy.

Siri Speaker rumours - release date, price, specs A patent granted on 16 May 2017 appears to relate to the gadget, as it’s for an “Electronic device with radially deployed components”. However, it could also be for a new Mac Pro.

In any case, the diagram below shows “a cross-sectional side view of an electronic device showing how an array of components may be mounted to the exterior of a device housing in accordance with an embodiment.” Siri Speaker rumours - release date, price, specs Sonny Dickson, an Australian blogger who has been right on a few previous Apple rumours, recently tweeted:

Apple is currently finalising designs for their Alexa competitor, expected to be marketed as a Siri/AirPlay device.

— Sonny Dickson (@SonnyDickson) 27 April 2017[12]

According to Dickson’s tweets, there could be a tie-in with Beats and could be styled like the Mac Pro.

He also says it will have “same style UE Boom mesh” which means it could have fabric to soften its appearance in the home. It’s also supposedly being marketed as an AirPlay device. This makes sense as AirPlay speakers exist already and this device would surely include that functionality.

Another tweet says “Concave top with the controls, fat with the speaker mesh portion covering it all.” Ming Chi Kuo reckons the device will have a touch ‘panel’, possibly like the Amazon Echo Show,[13] or simply a capacitive area that might be used for interactions. Others say it will include the W1 Bluetooth chip (found in Apple’s AirPods), a custom ARM processor, one woofer and seven tweeters.

The most recent pre-WWDC speculation comes from a report in Bloomberg[14] from Mark Gurman, who has a good track record for Apple product leaks. He claims that as of 31 May Apple had begun manufacturing the device, and that Apple employees had been testing versions in their homes for months. The report claims that the device won’t have a touch screen, but will instead differentiate itself by including virtual surround sound and louder, crisper speakers than its Google and Amazon rivals.

The speaker will also boast deep integration with other Apple services, and include third-party support from companies like Uber and Facebook. Until Apple officially unveils the device, it’s impossible to know which of these details are correct.

How much will the Siri speaker cost in the UK?

Again, information on this subject is from Ming Chi Kuo, who thinks the device will boast “premium audio” and that it will cost more than an Amazon Echo[15] and Google Home[16], which are ?149.99 and ?129 respectively. The Apple TV costs ?139 for the 32GB and ?179 for the 64GB.

Although it’s a slightly odd comparison, we’d imagine Apple would price a new gadget slightly higher than these. But would you pay ?199 for a Siri speaker?

How will it work with the Home app?

Apple products can already do much of what the Echo and Google Home can do, and Siri is already pretty much as capable as Alexa and the Google Assistant. The firm launched HomeKit with iOS 8 in 2014, but although the software sounded exciting – you could use Siri to turn on your heating or shut the blinds – physical products which supported HomeKit have only recently become available, in the UK at least.

This goes some way to explaining why there’s a Home app in iOS 10[17]. In iOS 8 or 9, you had to download an app specific to the hardware you’ve got, such as the Elgato Eve Thermo radiator valve[18]. Sure, you could use Siri to control the gadgets, but there was no central place where you could see all your HomeKit gadgets in one place.

The Home app addresses this and also allows you to create what Apple calls Scenes. With Scenes you can make several things happen with one command. Tell Siri, for example, “I’m home” and your HomeKit-compatible lights and heating can turn on, and your indoor security cameras can be disabled.

Before iOS 10, you had to download a third-party app to get this kind of functionality, or rely on multiple apps to control HomeKit products individually.

Apple Home rumours

References

  1. ^ (www.pcadvisor.co.uk)
  2. ^ Amazon Echo (www.pcadvisor.co.uk)
  3. ^ Google Home (www.pcadvisor.co.uk)
  4. ^ what to expect at WWDC 2017 (www.pcadvisor.co.uk)
  5. ^ Echo and Echo Dot (www.pcadvisor.co.uk)
  6. ^ Google Home (www.pcadvisor.co.uk)
  7. ^ AirPods (www.macworld.co.uk)
  8. ^ released a new report (9to5mac.com)
  9. ^ 10.5in iPad Pro. (www.pcadvisor.co.uk)
  10. ^ Bloomberg report (www.bloomberg.com)
  11. ^ one report (www.theinformation.com)
  12. ^ 27 April 2017 (twitter.com)
  13. ^ Amazon Echo Show, (www.pcadvisor.co.uk)
  14. ^ Bloomberg (www.bloomberg.com)
  15. ^ Amazon Echo (amzn.to)
  16. ^ Google Home (www.currys.co.uk)
  17. ^ iOS 10 (www.pcadvisor.co.uk)
  18. ^ Elgato Eve Thermo radiator valve (www.pcadvisor.co.uk)

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