While Apple is indeed said to be working on competition for Amazon's Echo voice assistant, it should come in the form of an upgraded Apple TV instead of a separate speaker-like device, a report claimed on Thursday.
Apple has actually dropped the idea of a standalone speaker given the money spent on developing the Apple TV, a source explained to VentureBeat. The company wants the Apple TV to be "the hub of everything," the person commented.
A fifth-generation model will allegedly solve some of the problems with the current set-top and the Siri Remote. It's suggested that the set-top will eventually get its own microphone and speaker, and that Apple will be improving its computing infrastructure to handle more Siri queries. While the technology is already available on the Apple TV, it's more limited there than on iPhones and iPads.
Supporting these developments will be the previously-rumored Siri SDK for developers, allowing them to hook third-party apps into the platform, the source noted.
The report didn't specify when a new Apple TV might actually launch. While many Apple products are updated on an annual cycle, the Apple TV has so far been one of the exceptions. Also, while an announcement could be made at next month's Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple is unlikely to update hardware so quickly after the fourth-gen model's October debut. A fall launch may be more likely.
The proposed upgrades could pose problems for Apple, among them the fact that many Apple TVs are situated directly next to noisy home theater equipment. Another is the fact that the Echo — and Google's upcoming Home — aren't tied to TVs, and hence can work in any room with internet access.