New smart speaker expected as Apple kicks off conference

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When the reminder is due, a blue light ring appears on Amazon's Echo connected speaker and Alexa's voice reminds you of the task at hand. Apple is reportedly also about to announce a Siri speaker during its WWDC 2017 keynote this coming Monday, yet it's unclear if the company can push past the stigma that still surrounds Siri. Siri works as an additional tool for controlling traditional apps, and Apple pays money to owners of those apps. We'll be updating this article as and when we know more so please stay tuned.

"Now you can ask Alexa to set a pasta timer and to set a garlic bread timer, and when the timer goes off, Alexa will state which timer is done", Amazon said in a statement to PCMag. "Currently these smart appliances are likely to be assistant-enabled, and there is a possibility of also embedding this digital assistant AI-based technology within certain premium ranges of appliances, such as smart fridges, smart wall ovens, smart coffee machines and even robotic vacuum cleaners".

Reminders and lists might seem basic, but people use smart assistants for pretty simple stuff. If the speculation pans out, the speaker would be Apple's first new product since its smartwatch in 2015. Apple is betting that customers will not use voice commands without an experience similar to speaking with a human, and so it is limiting what Siri can do in order to make sure it works well. This is what is rumoured to be underpinning Apple's smart assistant product. However, it loses points for its speech engine, which doesn't sound quite as smooth and fluid as Alexa.

Special discounts like the ones Amazon has available right now on the Echo and Echo Dot are believed to help drive tremendous sales.

There's also support for more distant reminders, though. This is similarly small and unobtrusive and looks like what you'd get if somebody pulled off the top two inches of the Echo.

In its current incarnation, Apple's HomeKit system is software only.

Apple is set to step up its efforts in tech's next big battlefield: the home.

"In typical Apple fashion, they've allowed for only a few use cases, but they do them very well", said Charles Jolley, chief executive of Ozlo, maker of an intelligent assistant app.

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