Apple appears to be positioning Siri as the hub for a new era of “conversational search” after reports revealed that the company is building a standalone speaker device powered by the speech interpretation and recognition interface.
The report, published by tech news site The Information, says that a Siri-powered AI speaker similar to Google Home and Amazon Echo could be revealed at Apple’s annual developer conference next month. It also states that Apple will make Siri accessible to third-party developers and apps.
The move has been forced by growing competition from Amazon and Google and will see Apple commit to its original vision for Siri, which centred on its use as an intelligent hub for content, services and transactions from third parties. It is believed that the new device has been in development since last year.
Siri co-founder Dag Kittlaus believed that the interface would be the successor to traditional search, deliver a more consistent and relevant experience for end users and eliminate some of the problems associated with mobile SERPs. While the latest move won’t meet that criteria just yet, it does indicate that significant changes to how searches are made could be on the horizon.
Apple’s reported plans follow last week’s launch of Google Home, which is a bookshelf speaker that acts as a front end for everyday tasks and integrates services such as Spotify, WhatsApp and Uber. The arrival of devices and assistants that can fulfil a user’s needs and objectives immediately in this way – without the need for SERPs – could fundamentally alter how SEO operates.
“The assistant is conversational – an ongoing two-way dialogue between you and Google that understands your world and helps you get things done,” Google said last week. “It makes it easy to buy movie tickets while on the go, to find that perfect restaurant for your family to grab a quick bite before the movie starts, and then help you navigate to the theatre.”
Apple has not commented on the report but is likely to reveal more about its plans in June. Google’s Home device is also expected to arrive sometime this year.