We first heard suggestions that Apple was working on its own equivalent to Amazon’s Echo – an intelligent voice-controlled assistant in a speaker – in the run-up to WWDC back in May. A subsequent report suggested that the device would feature a camera capable of facial-recognition to identify household members and set preferences.
Little more has been heard since then, but a new Bloomberg report says that the product now exists in prototype form and has begun testing outside the lab …
Earlier this month we mentioned that Sonos is hosting a media event in NYC today, and now we’re hearing what the speaker company is announcing. It turns out it does have something to do with voice as I suspected: starting in 2017, Sonos speakers will work with Amazon Echo. Alexa voice control is gaining Sonos support to “play, pause, skip, or control the volume on any Sonos home sound system using the power of their voice.”
Back in 2014, some of the biggest investors in the U.S. suggested that Apple could be the first company to achieve a trillion dollar valuation by market cap, having gotten two-thirds of the way there that year before later slipping. Investment site Motley Fool yesterday acknowledged that the company could indeed be just ‘one home-run product’ away from this, but made the seemingly-unlikely argument that Amazon may get there first …
Novelists and app developers have a lot in common. An author puts a lot of work into writing a novel, but when it’s finally published it’s competing with millions of other books out there. Unless you’re a big-name writer, most people will never even get to know that yours exists.
You can try to be creative with your marketing. For example, I did a Kickstarter campaign for my first novel, 11/9, and included the opening scene of The Billion Dollar Heist at the end of it to drive sales through to that. But it’s impossible to compete with the big publishing houses.
The same is true of small-time app developers. Your app may be the greatest in the world, but it steps out into a world that already has around 1.5 million iOS apps and where nobody has ever heard of yours. And with Apple now allowing successful companies to buy even more App Store visibility through search result ads, it can only get tougher for the little guy.
Which is why I think Apple could usefully learn from a new model being used for books by Amazon …
If you search Amazon for streaming media players, you’ll find plenty of them. The one thing you won’t find is the Apple TV, and company CEO Jeff Bezos told the Re/code conference why not. Apple TV doesn’t currently offer access to Amazon’s own Prime Video platform, and Bezos says that isn’t because Apple refuses to include it, but because it wants too much money for doing so.
[W]hen we sell those devices, we want our player — our Prime Video player — to be on the device, and we want it to be on the device with acceptable business terms. You can always get the player on the device. The question is, can you get it on there with acceptable business terms?
While he doesn’t say so outright, the meaning of the vague phrase is pretty clear …
Amazon was first with its Echo Wi-Fi speaker — a dedicated, standalone hub for its Alexa virtual assistant software — and now word has it Apple is working on a similar product for Siri. The several reports this week detailing Apple’s plans followed Google’s unveiling of its competitive Home hardware and Assistant platform at its Google I/O developer conference earlier this month. But what exactly will Apple’s competitor look like? And how will its reported plans for a Siri SDK play into its approach?
Earlier this week it was reported that Apple may announce a Siri SDK and Amazon Echo-like Siri speaker at WWDC next month. The software development kit would allow developers to integrate apps with the voice assistant, and a Siri speaker would compete with Amazon’s Alexa and the upcoming Google Home. Adding to the rumors, a new report suggests this product may not be available until sometime next year, but could feature cameras with facial recognition features that stand out from Amazon’s and Google’s products.
Last week Google officially took the wraps off of its Amazon Echo competitor Google Home, while earlier this month the original Siri creators unveiled their latest personal assistant Viv. Now, The Information reports that Apple is working on an Amazon Echo-like device.
Rumors of Apple’s entrance into the video streaming arena have been swirling for a couple of years now, with Apple wanting to launch a skinny bundle streaming internet cable TV service, however news on the progress of this project has died down in 2016. It is unclear if it is still on the cards, various outlets reports talked had stalled with the television networks. However, Amazon and Netflix continue to battle it out.
Today, just as Netflix customers are forcibly moved to more expensive monthly plans, Amazon has announced it will offer its streaming video service as a standalone monthly subscription for the first time. Priced at $8.99/per month, the plan is a dollar cheaper than Netflix’s most popular offering. Until today, the only way to get Amazon Prime Video through a $99/year Amazon Prime subscription, bundling video, 2-day shipping and other perks into one membership.
Sadly, there was no word on the status of an Amazon Apple TV app …
Apple alongside Amazon, Google and Microsoft today filed a joint amicus brief in support of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and President Obama’s proposed Clean Power Plan that aims to introduce new emissions regulations. The EPA had some major pushback on the plan, so now Apple and the others are lending their support:
As its battle with the FBI continues, Apple has reportedly hired a former Amazon executive to oversee its corporate digital defenses, according to Reuters. George Stathakopoulos was vice president of information security at Amazon for 6 years and was a general manager at Microsoft for 10 years before joining Amazon. At Apple, Stathakopoulos will report to CFO Luca Maestri.
The Amazon Echo has become somewhat of a hit success, with many users preferring Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant to Apple’s Siri because of faster speech recognition speed, reliability and overall better performance. Amazon is continuing to compete in the voice assistant space with the release of two new products today: the Amazon Tap and Echo Dot.
The new products focus on expanding Amazon’s voice assistant into more rooms of your house as well as on-the-go. It’s an interesting strategy to make Alexa-dedicated devices, whereas Apple currently offers Siri only as a feature of its existing iOS, Apple Watch and Apple TV products.