Report: Apple working on rival to Amazon Echo

Amazon has enjoyed rave reviews for its Echo, an in-home device that serves as one’s personal assistant, ever since it first unveiled the fancy speaker last November.

Then Google jumped on board last week with its Google Home, a small speaker you can control with your voice to play music and tap into Google Assistant, the search giant’s new artificial-intelligence system.

This week, it’s Apple’s turn to enter the virtual home assistant space, at least according to unnamed sources in a blog post on The Information.

According to the post, the decision by Apple was a long time in coming, with much hand-wringing and in-house debate along the way. But now, according to the blog’s sources, Apple has decided to open up its virtual assistant, Siri, to the wider development community who’ll gin up new apps from outside Apple’s own camp. And, say those sources, Apple’s working on an Echo-like device “with a speaker and microphone that people can use to turn on music, get news headlines or set a timer.”

Opening up its Siri voice assistant to outside app developers is the more immediate step. Apple is preparing to release a software developer kit, or SDK, for app developers who want their apps to be accessible through Siri, according to a person with direct knowledge of the effort.

So now it’s everyone into the pool. Earlier this month, Google said it was going after Amazon and Facebook with a personal assistant it calls Google Home. In Google’s case, though, the smart assistant promises to be REALLY smart as she’ll be able to tap into the company’s mind-bogglingly large reservoir of information.

So get ready, everyone. You’re about to be joined by a new, or several new, members of your household.

Photo: An Apple store in China. (VCG via Getty Images)


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