Everyone has an opinion on Apple, an opinion every product the company makes, opinions on the executives, and opinions on what the company should do with all its money. Here’s an opinion on an Apple product we don’t even know about yet but one that could help us use Apple Music.
Amazon sells a nifty product called Echo. It’s a voice activated, voice recognition Siri-like device that plugs into the wall and uses Wi-Fi to connect to the internet. The personality embedded into Each is called Alexa and it works much like Siri on your iPhone or iPad; not as mobile, not as ubiquitous, but with a few different tricks. One major difference is that Siri doesn’t track what you say or do, and doesn’t try to sell you something, but that’s Echo and Alexa’s raison d’être.
Online leaks here and there suggests that Apple might be working on something similar, but more of a smart home device than Apple TV. It would be a small, wireless, Apple TV-like device that you could easily move from one room to another. Because it’s internet connected, Siri would be there, too, of course, ready to respond to queries or specific actions.
Why not just use Apple TV for the same things?
Here’s the problem with Apple TV. First up, it’s tethered to the television so not actually available in the kitchen, dining room, bedroom, family room, or anywhere else away from the TV itself. Second, Siri is tied to the Apple TV remote is is voice activated only when you press the button. Siri on the iPhone is, well, always on. Amazon Echo’s Alexa is always on. Siri needs to be always on for Apple TV but it’s not.
Apple could create a new and different Apple TV, v. 5, but it’s barely been a year since v. 4 hit the streets. Still, Apple might find it worthwhile to get rid of the Apple Remote altogether. Remotes are so 1999. Instead, we can and should be able to use our iPads, iPhones, Mac, and Watch to control Apple TV and Apple Music and be able to query Siri from any of those devices.
That’s what leads me to believe the company is working on another new Apple product; Apple TV-like, but more mobile, more voice activated, more transparent, and without a remote control device. This Apple box, allow me to call it Apple Vox, might also be a Siri-activated Apple Music speaker system that works somewhat like Echo and Alexa, but tied into Apple Music or your music collection, either on iPhone or Mac. Even better would be an option to use Apple Vox as a voice controlled solution for Apple TV that works better and more naturally than Siri on Apple Remote.
Apple could just as easily put all that functionality into smart speakers, add smart home utilities, and do a mashup of everything and put it into Apple TV, v. 5. I don’t think Apple Vox will be a high end speaker system because that industry is mature and people don’t want more speakers scattered around the house. What we might like is a friendly little device which works like a mashup of Apple TV, iPhone, Mac, and Apple TV. How Apple would position the device is one area that remains blurry to me.
But I’ll buy one anyway. It’s what I do.