They can start preparing their pockets. According to the Bloomberg one of the vehicles with the highest hit rate when it comes to Apple related predictions, it is worth noting, Ma will even present at the opening keynote of the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2017, next Monday, a dedicated speaker Siri along the lines of Google Home and Amazon Echo.
Ok, this is a news that many already expected, but in addition to the virtual "confirmation" of the existence of the product, the newspaper also brings some details of what can put this new device at a relative advantage over the competition. And apparently Apple's plan to make its smart speaker stand one step above rivals has to do with just one word: audio.
The newspaper, which refers to sources close to the development of the device, cites a supposed “sound technology surround which would be equipping the speaker as a major differential of the device. This feature would enable narrow sound reproduction even with just one speaker, and Apple would still be planning to include sensors that would measure the acoustics of the room where the equipment would be located to adjust playback levels automatically. The device, whose prototypes were already being tested in Cupertino a few months ago, was being manufactured by the same automaker that produces the AirPods for Ma.
The other major differential of the speaker, of course, would be its deep integration with other Apple services. The focus here would be to treat the device as a hub from HomeKit, Ma's home automation feature, in addition to bringing new features to Siri in the end, so consumers get even more stuck in the Tim Cook ecosystem and his class. Despite this, however, Apple would be willing to open the device API to third parties, allowing solutions from outside Infinite Loop to be integrated into it as well.
Finally, as for the speaker release date itself, the sources of the Bloomberg claim that the device will only be shipped later in the year, meaning that we will not have an immediate announcement followed by pre-sale (which, moreover, almost never happens with new product categories, either at Apple or technology world in general).
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On a related note, the competition to take the top of the smart speaker market just got a little harder for Apple today. I say this because Amazon announced that its digital assistant, the Alexa, now supports the iCloud calendars, bringing yet another gimmick to Ma ecosystem users who want to enjoy the solutions of the retail giant.
In a statement released to the MacRumors, Amazon says:
Starting today, you can connect your iCloud Alexa calendars. To do this, iCloud Calendar users simply need to log in to their “Settings” tab of the Alexa app. Once logged in, just say, “Alexa, what's in my calendar for today?” Or “Alexa, add a lunch with Sarah at noon on my calendar”.
ICloud calendar support has been one of the most requested features by Alexa users, and we are excited to bring it to Alexa devices in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany today.
Alexa is obviously not yet available in Brazil, so in Tupiniquin lands, not an announcement that will make a lot of difference. Still, we are talking about yet another hint that this race is just beginning, and Apple must move soon if it wants to have a chance to win a spot in the smart speaker market.