Apple is working on an Amazon Echo Competitor device that will help iOS users control lights, appliances and other devices in their homes with the use of voice commands. Even though the news is relatively exciting to Apple fans, smart home enthusiasts are on the fence. But why is that the case?
According to a recent Bloomberg report, Apple is heavily invested in the development of a smart home voice-controlled hub, similar to the Amazon Echo. If Bloomberg’s sources are correct, this will be Apple’s first major device release since the Apple Watch. While the news is pretty exciting for hardcore fans of the company, most smart home enthusiasts are on the fence about the announcement. While an Amazon Echo Competitor from Apple may not be able to bring any new functionality to the table, it may very well change the industry.
The Apple Effect
Earlier this month, we discussed why the new smart home app for iOS 10 is not of great importance for the smart home enthusiasts. While most of the same points for the app stand true for a smart home hub device, there is one major difference – the Amazon Echo Competitor will be a device. Software updates and new app releases are often major news for hardcore fans of Apple. However, they can’t compare to the release of new hardware from the company.
Consider the recent announcement and release of the Apple Watch. While the device itself was met with detrimental critical reviews, it nonetheless managed to stir up the market. While smart watches were already on the market, they were mostly purchased by enthusiasts. Even though major companies, including Samsung and Moto, had released such devices, it was Apple who made the smart watch widely recognized. With the Apple Watch, the company not only brought light to a growing enterprise, but it also inspired the development of many alternatives. This can be seen by the growth of the smart watch industry, having less than 25 million of units shipped annually in 2014, before the announcement and release of the Apple Watch, compared to 45 million in 2015 and are expected to reach 110 million by the end of 2016. A similar effect can be traced back to the early days of the tablet. While a number of tablets were already on the market, the iPad brought more light to the industry and spiked public interest in tablets.
Today, we may experience a similar Apple Effect with the smart home industry. The Amazon Echo is already on the market and Google will soon introduce its Google Home smart hub. However, it may be Apple’s Amazon Echo Competitor device that will give the slight push to the smart home industry that it needs to become more widely recognized.
The Functionality of the Apple’s Amazon Echo Competitor
According to the report, Apple’s Amazon Echo Competitor is not going to be that much different than the Echo itself. The supposed smart hub device will be used to control smart appliances that are connected to the smart home via Siri voice commands. Having in mind the current integration of the Amazon Alexa (Echo’s voice integration software) in a wide range of smart home products and the recent developments in the AI department by Google with the release of Google Assistant, it is hard to see Apple making a huge breakthrough in the smart home hub department.
Nonetheless, if the Apple smart home hub manages to attract a wider audience to the smart home industry, it may lead to a new revolution in home automation.
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