The Amazon Echo is a voice-enabled speaker that works through voice controls. It was created to blend into a smart home in order to provide those with the option to set tasks, alarms and even play music. Now the rumour mill is turning yet again around Apple's developments within the area, more specifically if Apple will release a Siri-enabled speaker to its product line-up.
Here's the latest speculations and rumours on 'Apple Home'.
Update 16 September 2016: The new Home app in iOS 10 allows you to control various HomeKit products available on the Apple Store. Previously you would have needed a third-party app in order to use the features, now they're all-in-one. This is a logical step forward by Apple and we hope that Apple Home will one day be released in the market.
Apple Home name: What will the new speaker be called?
With the rumour mill, you can expect that there will be a wide variety of names that could be used, here's a few to contemplate:
- Apple Home
- Beats Home
- Siri Home
- Siri Speaker
These rumoured and speculative names are taken from around the web and some are created by ourselves at Macworld. Based on previous products and even with Apple's acquisition of Beats, the audio company, there are a variety of names that Apple could use.
It should be noted that some names such as iHome and iSpeaker already exist through other branded products, so we presume that if Apple were to release a new product they would call it the Siri Speaker or Apple Home. This goes in-line with Amazon and Google's naming schemes, where we would expect Apple to follow suit.
Also read: 60 funny things to ask Siri on iPhone, iPad.
Apple Home UK release date rumours: When is Apple Home coming out? Will Apple Home ever come out?
Currently there's no confirmed date, nor even a hint by Apple around the subject of a Siri-enabled speaker. Given Apple's recent WWDC 2016 conference, where they opened Siri to third-party developers, we could see the use of Siri SDK in an upcoming speaker.
Given the timing and release date of previous hardware, we would expect Apple to either launch Apple Home at their autumn event in 2016, alongside the rumoured iPhone 7 and Apple Watch 2 or at a separate event in March 2017.
With the very little amount of information out there and the very recent Siri SDK being made available to developers, we think a 2017 release date seems more accurate - this is of course, if the product ever comes out in the first place!
Read next: Siri for Mac release date.
Apple Home UK price rumours: How much will Apple Home cost?
Apple have to be competitive, and will most likely price their product close to the Amazon Echo. Currently the Amazon equivalent can only be bought in the US for $179.99 (~£215 incl VAT). We see Apple Home being released at a similar price tag, with it being under $200 in the US and around £250 in the UK.
Again, these are merely speculations based on Amazon's current pricing model.
Apple Home specification rumours: What to expect from Apple Home?
There are lots of features that Apple could incorporate, from a powerful speaker with Bluetooth aptX technology for high-fidelity music playback, to multiple smart connectors and lightning port adapters for charging your iOS device.
Currently, there are no confirmed specifications nor any supply-chain leaks that we can share with you, but we can predict what we think the specifications could look like:
- A tall speaker with different colours options: Silver, Gold, Space Grey, Rose Gold and White
- Light indicator on the speaker
- Buttons to control volume, mute and basic Siri controls
- Powerful 2x 10Watt speakers
- Bluetooth 4.1 with aptX, A2DP and AAC codec support
- 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz Wi-Fi compatibility, with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac networks
- Two USB and Smart Connector ports for charging iOS devices
- FM/AM/DAB radio capabilities
- 1.5Kg weight
- 3yrs warranty
With these specs, we would expect the speaker to be able to work with a vast array of iOS and Mac devices. Apple Home would also have the ability to work with first and third-party apps, such as Spotify, Apple Music and even Google Calendar.
The app support will really depend on individual developers, but the possibilities at this stage are endless. There are even rumours that might suggest a built-in camera, so that could can FaceTime directly from your Apple Home device!
We will update this article as soon as we know more information on Apple Home. Let us know in the comments below if you think these speculations are accurate or outlandish.