Apple Working On Siri Speaker to Compete With Amazon Echo?

Apple is rumored to be working on an intelligent speaker that is powered by Siri and aimed at competing with Amazon’s Echo speaker and and Alexa assistant, though the report didn’t reveal any details about a possible release date.

By John Nassivera | May 25, 2016 12:42 PM EDT

Apple is rumored to be working on an intelligent speaker that is powered by Siri and aimed at competing with Amazon’s Echo speaker and and Alexa assistant, though the report didn’t reveal any details about a possible release date. (Photo : Rob Pongsajapan (Flickr))

Apple is apparently looking to establish its presence in the intelligent speaker game with the debut of a stand-alone virtual assistant device that is powered by Siri.

The move is reportedly aimed at taking on Amazon’s Alexa assistant and Echo speaker, and the tech giant also supposedly plans on opening Siri to third-party apps. Apple had apparently been debating about how to go about creating a Siri speaker for years.

“Opening up its Siri voice assistant to outside app developers is the more immediate step,” a report from The Information says. “Apple is preparing to release a software developer kit, or SDK, for app developers who want their apps to be accessible through Siri, according to a person with direct knowledge of the effort.”

The debut of Apple’s new speaker would come at a time when smart home technology continues to evolve, and several tech giants are trying to create their own virtual assistants that act as hubs for other devices, including Google with Home and Microsoft with its Cortana-based gadget.

Google revealed the speaker last week along with its new artificial intelligence assistant called Google Assistant. The search giant said in a discussion that the new assistant is aimed at bringing in a new era of “conversational search.”

“The assistant is conversational- an ongoing two-way dialogue between you and Google that understands your world and helps you get things done,” Google said. “It makes it easy to buy movie tickets while on the go, to find that perfect restaurant for your family to grab a quick bite before the movie starts, and then help you navigate to the theater.”

Features that have been confirmed for the Siri speaker include the ability to turn any appliance supported by Apple’s HomeKit platform on and off, as well as being able to perform some of the tasks that currently associated with automated bots. The addition of these features would make the device more useful and free from setting alarms, sending texts and other popular Apple features. Apple is also expected to unveil Siri for the Mac later this year, which would allow the technology to work for more than just home speakers and phones.

Despite the success that Google’s Alexa has had, Apple’s speaker would have the advantage of being multilingual, as Alexa is limited to English while Siri comes with a variety of languages.

The Siri SDK is expected to arrive sooner than the speaker, with Apple’s annual WWDC conference in June being a possible date for the unveiling.