Voice-controlled speakers are set to take off in 2017. Where they’re heading, however, is open to much debate. One thing is certain, however. At least in the short-term, Apple’s not going to be the one leading the debate.
If you’re in the market for a voice-activated speaker, you’re left with two choices. You can buy one of the many Amazon Alexa speakers or buy a Google Home.
According to a new eMarker survey, the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot devices currently claim 70.6 percent of the U.S. voice speaker market. By comparison, the Google Home has attracted 23.8 percent.
Best-selling Amazon Echo
The number of active U.S. users is expected to doubt this year, to 35.6 million, eMarketer said.
Do you want an Apple Siri-powered speaker? The best you can do now is fund one on Kickstarter and hope for the best.
Harman Kardon Invoke
In recent days, two new voice-activated speakers launched.
The first of these, the Amazon Echo Look, comes with a built-in camera that’s intended to “help you look your best.” The voice-activated speaker is currently available by invitation only although a wider release later this year is expected.
The second new product, the Harman Kardon Invoke, is powered by Microsoft’s Cortana and looks every bit like an Echo clone. The speaker arrives this fall.
Another new Amazon Echo?
There’s currently a 50/50 chance that Apple will unveil a Siri-powered speaker at next month’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). If this doesn’t happen, I would expect we’ll be seeing the product no later than this fall.
The Amazon Echo Look might not be the only new speaker from the online retailer to make its debut this year. Last week, an image of a touchscreen Echo leaked. Looking nothing like anything else on the market, the would-be speaker could prove to be another game changer from the market leader.
Where Things Stand
I have no doubt Apple will find early success with whatever Siri-powered speaker it reveals. However, given what Amazon has been doing (and may have in development), it might be some time before Cupertino has any hope of being the market leader. To do this, Apple needs to develop products that don’t just look like Echo clones.
Unfortunately, that target seems to be moving with each passing month.
What are you looking for in a voice-activated speaker? Let us know in the comments below.