It’s been a while since Apple entered a brand new product category, but that could all be about to change, and soon.
Rumours are rife that the Cupertino-based company is getting ready to launch its first brand new product since the 2015-released Apple Watch, with voice-controlled smart speakers tipped to be its new stomping ground of choice.
While firmed-up details on Apple’s heavily rumoured Amazon Echo rival have yet to be confirmed, the firm’s head of marketing, Phil Schiller, has now hinted that not only could the device be on its way, but it will pack an inbuilt touchscreen.
“There’s many moments where a voice assistant is really beneficial, but that doesn’t mean you’d never want a screen,” Schiller said speaking with Gadgets360.
Using mapping and navigation directions as an example of smart speaker features that would benefit from both audio descriptions and visual commands, he added: “The idea of not having a screen, I don’t think suits many situations.”
Although this isn’t confirmation of the claims Apple is prepping its own Echo rival, Schiller’s comments feel like something of a preamble to an upcoming launch.
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According to recent reports, Apple will launch its internet connected, app-enhanced, smart home controlling Siri speaker as early as next month. It’s been suggested that the upcoming WWDC conference in early June will act as the launch platform.
Teasing the company’s views on such devices, Schiller went on to preach the benefits of the underlying software behind Echo and Google Home style devices.
“I think voice assistants are incredibly powerful, their intelligence is going to grow, they’re going to do more for us, but the role of the screen is going to remain very important to all of this,” he said.
“We believe deeply in voice-driven assistant that’s why we invest in Siri.”
He added: “The idea of a device without a screen, well it’s not really useful for that whole category of photos that we all share, and all the social networking apps that are now embracing photos more and more, well, it doesn’t work really so great in voice-only assistants.
Apple’s WWDC 2017 keynote will be held on June 5, with the product unveiling to see CEO Tim Cook take to the stage, most likely with Schiller in tow.
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