Amazon managed to surprise pretty much everyone when it introduced the Echo toward the end of 2014. The Alexa-powered wireless speaker and voice command device has exponentially grown in popularity over the last 18 months, leaving Alphabet-owned Google to announce the Google Home during this year’s I/O, and fueling additional speculation that Apple Inc. could be planning on releasing a similar piece of hardware powered by Siri. It doesn’t look as if that speculation is going to disappear anytime soon, with the latest addition being the suggestion that Apple’s version of the connected speaker could come with a built-in camera featuring facial recognition, allowing it to be “self aware” and know exactly who is in the room at any given time.

According to a number of sources who claim to have intricate knowledge of Apple’s plans, it looks as though Apple could be investigating whether or not an Apple-manufactured Amazon Echo competitor with facial recognition would have a place in that particular market.

Apple-TV-Siri

The real power behind such an integration would be the fact that users of the product could then customize the hardware with their own preferences, which could then be automatically recalled and set on the device depending on who is actually recognized and picked up through the camera. Of course, Apple has declined to comment on the speculation.

If Apple is planning on diversifying its product range to include a Siri-powered wireless connected speaker akin to the Amazon Echo or Google Home, then we could potentially expect to see it being made available on digital and physical store shelves by the close of the current calendar year. With that said, given the fact that we are expecting a new iPhone to drop in September, as well as waiting patiently for the introduction of a new MacBook Pro range, it’s far more likely that Tim Cook and Apple Inc. will keep this particular range under wraps until early 2017.

Amazon Echo main

As more and more consumers look to expand into having some kind of automation and connected devices in their home, devices like the Amazon Echo, Google’s Home, and whatever Apple may or may not have up its sleeve, will continue to grow in popularity. If the camera rumor does turn out to be dipped in accuracy then Apple would instantly offer something additional over the Echo and Home hardware. Stay tuned for more on this one, folks.

(Source: CNET)

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