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New Apple TV will compete with Amazon Echo: Source


Apple is working on its answer to Amazon’s Echo, the voice-activated assistant packaged inside a speaker, but it may come in the form of a refreshed Apple TV, rather than a new hardware product, VentureBeat has learned.

The company will build on its enhancements to the Apple TV announced last year, which brought the Siri virtual assistant to the set-top box. A new version of the Apple TV will solve problems with the existing box and remote control, a source familiar with the matter claims.

“They want Apple TV to be just the hub of everything,” the source told VentureBeat.

Earlier this week The Information reported on plans to build “an Amazon Echo-like device with a speaker and microphone.” Our source, however, says the device will be the Apple TV.

Apple has considered several options — turning the existing Apple TV into a more comprehensive assistant, making the Apple TV’s Siri Remote the key device, or even building a standalone speaker just like Echo. Ultimately, the third option was dropped, given how much money Apple has spent on the development of Apple TV.

The problem with using the remote as the hub is that it only has a certain amount of battery power — it needs to be charged occasionally with a Lightning cable. The box itself has no microphone, but if it did, fan noise from a nearby device, like a television, could make speech recognition challenging. The Apple TV will eventually get its own microphone and speaker, the source said.

The current box can handle dictation, but processing queries and serving up results requires additional computing infrastructure, and Apple is working on that, the source said.

The Apple TV represents more than just a set-top box that can replace a cable box. Apple wants to own the living room and the connected home in general, the source said. A more powerful Apple TV would be a stronger foundation for new Apple products.

For more details
Source: http://venturebeat.com/2016/05/26/apple-tv-amazon-echo-competitor/

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