FEELS LIKE HOME

Apple’s answer to Amazon Echo and Google Home might be on its way

“Hey Siri. Hey Siri. HEY SIRI. HEY SIRI. What’s the weather—”

“I’m listening.”

“Argh. What’s the weather outside?”

“I didn’t know what you meant by ‘ark what’s weather outside.’ Would you like me to search the web?”

If interactions like this with Apple’s digital voice assistant Siri are something you enjoy on a daily basis, you might be in luck. It seems Apple may be launching a Siri-powered speaker this summer, potentially during the company’s annual developer conference in June.

According to MacRumors, an oft-cited KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo sent out an internal research note today saying there’s “an over 50% chance” that Apple will unveil a device, potentially called the “Siri Hub” this summer. (MacRumors says it has obtained Kuo’s note; Quartz has requested the note from KGI Securities, and reached out to Apple for comment.)

Apple’s answer to other smart-home hubs will apparently cost more than competitors like Amazon’s line of Echo speakers and the Google Home. Kuo’s note says the speaker will have multiple tweeters, a woofer, and computing power comparable to an iPhone 6 or 6S, according to Business Insider, potentially kicking the price of the device well above the roughly $180 mark for an Amazon Echo. The device reportedly will have similar functions to its competitors, allowing users to stream music and control internet-of-things devices around their home. As Quartz previously reported, it is also likely to give users the ability to ask Siri questions about the weather, and other things she may or may not already answer in her other forms.

Kuo’s note suggests, according to MacRumors, that Inventec, the company that manufactures AirPods for Apple, is also working on this Siri-powered speaker. AirPod wearers can tap the side of the headphones and speak commands to Siri in the same way they might on an iPhone or an Apple Watch, so it makes sense that Inventec would be involved.

Apple has been stripping physical inputs from its products for years, and AirPods were arguably a first step into a world of button-free hardware, where voice is the only way to interact with the device. Quartz reporter Dave Gershgorn called AirPods “minimalism materialized” when they were first unveiled. A Siri-hub-speaker could be the ultimate manifestation of Apple’s fanaticism with minimalist industrial design (that it probably borrowed from the Germans), perhaps even more so than the giant donut-like campus Apple’s building in California. Picture it: the hub could feature next to no buttons (even fewer than those on an Echo or Home), a monolithic design akin to the current, trashcan-shaped Mac Pro, and a complete inability to understand anything you ask of it.

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