KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo has published an industry report today claiming that Apple will likely announce a Siri Speaker product (branding unknown, Kuo calls it ‘Apple’s first home AI product’) at WWDC in June. The device will compete with the Amazon Echo and go on sale in the second half of the year.
Kuo says Apple’s product will feature ‘excellent’ sound with seven tweeters and a subwoofer, and will be positioned as a more premium product than the Echo … with a higher price tag to match.
KGI’s report is not definitive about the launch timeline. It says that they believe Apple has a more than 50% chance of announcing the Siri Speaker product in June. This leaves some wiggle room in case plans change or the launch is pushed back.
Apple leaker Sonny Dickson predicted the launch of a Siri Speaker product at WWDC last week. Dickson said the device had a trashcan Mac Pro inspired style design; Kuo does not give insight into the product’s physical appearance.
KGI says that Apple’s entrance into this space will headline superior acoustics performance and computing power, with a similar integrated SoC as the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6S processors. Kuo indicates the obvious integrations with Siri, iOS and Mac, and AirPlay.
He also notes that the home AI market is quickly becoming too big for Apple to ignore, predicting that Amazon’s Echo range could outsell the iPad in 2018.
The analyst expects Apple to ship around 10 million of these as-yet-unannounced devices in the first year of availability with the product manufactured by Inventec, the same company that Apple tasked with producing Apple’s truly wireless AirPods.
Again, Kuo was hesitant to pin down a date for the launch of this new Apple product but it seems likely that it will be unveiled (and go on sale) before the end of the year. A WWDC debut would make sense if Apple is also planning SDK integrations with the Siri Speaker for developers and if it has other announcements for new Siri enhancements in the wings.
Longer term, the analyst expects Apple to produce complementary accessories similar to the Amazon Echo Dot, perhaps powered by Apple’s W1 chip. Late last year, it was reported that Apple had cancelled development of its AirPort line of wireless home products. The unveiling of Siri Speaker could be related, as the AirPort Express already provided ways for users to wirelessly stream their iTunes music around the house.