Amazon Echo and Google Home may soon face competition from Apple
The Amazon Echo may be about to get some serious competition.
Amazon’s smart speaker has won many fans since its launch last year, gaining plaudits for the super-intelligent Alexa assistant feature, which is able to carry out thousands of tasks.
However Amazon’s dominance of the smart home market was hit after the launch of Google Home in the UK last month, as the tech giant finally brought its connected hub here.
Now, it looks like both Amazon Echo and Google Home might be about to do battle with a new challenger, as Apple considers its move into the market.
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A new patent filing discovered by Patently Apple has shown that Apple is planning something very similar to the existing releases.
Much like the Amazon Echo, the new product would feature a speaker, but would use the company’s own Siri assistant, seen in the iPhone and iPad, for voice commands.
Siri looks set to play a major part in the new product, with users able to activate the voice assistant to control all the connected devices in their home.
For example, asking to make a call would lead the product to connect straight to your iPhone.
Asking how far you’ve walked today would connect to your Apple Watch, and information on your favourite TV programs would see a connection to the Apple TV.
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Apple's Home app lets you control your smart products with your iPhone or Apple Watch
There’s no news on when a new device would appear, but Apple has made no secret of its aims to move into the smart home market.
Apple now makes and sells a number of smart accessories in association with several partner firms, which are available to buy in many high street stores.
The company’s HomeKit platform connects up smart products made by both Apple and third-party manufacturers.
Setting up a HomeKit accessory with the updated Home app is simple enough – just use your phone to scan the HomeKit code on the smart device and it should instantly pair with the app.
Apple also recently updated its existing Home app, which allows users to control the various smart appliances and devices around their house directly from their phone.
Siri also plays a key part in the new Home app, with the voice-activated app able to carry out tasks on its own, whether using an iPad, iPhone or even an Apple Watch.
HomeKit customers can use Siri to turn applianced on or off, dim the lights, or set one of their scenes active.
Apple TV can also be added to the Home service, connecting to your mobile device to allow a wide array of commands, with the added bonus of several media-specific actions to activate your speakers, lights and TV.