Is Apple Developing a Siri Hub to Compete with Amazon Echo and Google Home?

Is Apple Developing a Siri Hub to Compete with Amazon Echo and Google Home?

When it comes to home automation voice assistants, Amazon has led the pack for a while, with the Echo, Dot, and Tap devices. These clever gadgets are always listening for your commands (or in the case of Tap, press a button and then it will listen) and act accordingly. I've used my Echo to listen to music ("Alexa, play Smooth Jazz") and to control some of my smart home devices. It's as close to a Star Trek computer as possible, at least until we can wear a communicator badge! There are even third-party apps that sit on top of the Echo system, in the cloud, so you can play trivia, etc., all controlled by voice.

Related: How to Set Up and Use Your Smart Home with HomeKit Devices

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Naturally, Google wants to get into the act. At the recent Google IO conference, the company launched Google Home, which leverages their experience with the Nest intelligent thermostat and smoke alarm systems. As with Amazon, developers will be able to participate to make the voice assistant even more powerful. That brings us to Apple and its Worldwide Developers Conference.

In mid-June, Apple will host 5,000 or so developers and present the next generation of operating systems, Application Programming Interfaces, and to some degree, hardware. This will be a great time to launch a Siri-based hub for similar services. I had hoped that the new Apple TV would be Apple's response to Echo, etc., but rumors suggest an entirely new device will be forthcoming. That's one more gadget to buy, plug in, and keep track of, but it could be a better alternative. For example, it could be portable, unlike the Apple TV. Plus, Apple could leverage its purchase of Beats and make a wireless, portable, high-quality speaker that serves as a Siri assistant. Now, if I could wear it look a Star Trek badge, then Apple would be on to something!

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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.