Apple to make Amazon Echo-like device, Siri SDK, available by this year’s WWDC

Apple is working on an Amazon Echo-like device. A report states that iPhone maker has been working on the device since before Amazon introduced the Echo in mid-2015. Known as Siri SDK, the device would be having a speaker and web-connected.

To available in time for WWDC in just a few weeks, the device would have a deep integeration with HomeKit. Apple is expected to bring Siri to the Mac at WWDC as well. Siri SDK will also act as speaker and carry support for AirPlay technology. The device would integrate with Apple’s HomeKit protocol for controlling different smart home accessories.

Siri integration would grant access to internet queries and first-party iCloud services like Calendar, Contacts, iMessage, Mail and more. Experts affirmed that competition to have an ideal smart home solution is heating up.

Tech giant like Amazon, Apple and more lately Google have been working on to have their in-house initiatives. In March, Amazon’s Echo line came up with the entry level Dot and a portable system called Tap.

Last week, Google has unveiled its own voice activated home device capable of playing music, answering internet queries, managing schedules and controlling connected accessories. Though Apple started early with HomeKit, Apple seems to be at slow pace than competitors.

According to a story published on the topic by Apple Insider, “Apple hopes to have a working SDK ready for developers by this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June, the report said. Software details were unavailable, though Apple’s SDK is expected to come with basic query-answer requirements like a generic search term box that would be populated via Siri’s voice recognition module. For example, a user might request a taxi service by telling Siri, “get me a ride home,” which could trigger an Uber reservation.”

As for Apple’s Echo competitor, the publication said development on such a product began well before Amazon launched its smart home product with Alexa virtual assistant software last year. A simple piece of equipment with a speaker, microphone and internet connectivity, the rumored device is said to integrate with Apple’s HomeKit protocol for controlling various smart home accessories. Siri integration would also grant access to internet queries and first-party iCloud services including Calendar, Contacts, iMessage, Mail and more.

“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. The report explains that Apple will open up its Siri personal assistant to outside app developers by releasing an SDK. This will allow for app developers to make their apps and services accessible through Siri, much like Amazon, Google, and Viv are now doing,” according to a recent 9To5Mac report.

Apple already has deals with a handful of third-party services, such as Yelp, but those deals came from Apple working on a company-by-company basis. With an SDK, any developer would be able to integrate their app with Siri. According to the report, the app developers would be responsible for ensuring that Siri connected to their app when appropriate. For instance, an app like Uber could gain integration with Siri, allowing users to request a car via Apple’s virtual assistant. How Apple’s beefed Siri is described is a lot like what the original Siri creators showed off with Viv earlier this month.

A report published in IB Times informed, “Apple is planning to launch a rival to Amazon’s popular Echo connected speaker that will be powered by its voice-activated digital assistant Siri — a feature the company is also planning to finally open up to developers, sources told the Information. Quoting sources with knowledge of Apple’s plans, said the Echo rival was in development long before Amazon launched its product in 2014. However, it is still not clear when Apple plans to launch the device. There is also no indication in the report what the device would look like or how much it would cost.”

Apple is widely expected to bring Siri to its desktop operating system Mac OS X for the first time. Also, giving Siri’s access to third-party apps will instantly make Apple’s system exponentially more useful. At present, trying to carry out tasks like ordering an Uber using Siri is impossible, but by allowing developers to hook into the digital assistant’s features, Apple would make its system much more powerful. “Hey Siri, order me a cab home.” According to the report: “To work with Siri, the third-party apps will need some kind of search-query box that Siri could fill with the user’s verbal request once the app is accessed.”

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