We’re just weeks from Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) annual developer conference — WWDC 2017. And while the event is primarily aimed at software developers, the company has used the keynote in previous years to introduce new hardware. It looks like this could be a big year in that respect. AAPL analysts are increasing convinced that Apple will unveil two key new products on June 5: a Siri speaker and an all-new iPad Pro.
The Case for a Siri Speaker at WWDC 2017
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) launched the smart speaker craze with the Amazon Echo in 2015. In the short time since, the Echo has brought Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant into millions of homes. Over 10,000 third party “skills” have vaulted Amazon into a smart home leadership position. The success of the Amazon Echo brought competition from Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) in the form of Google Home and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is showing off Cortana in third-party smart speakers.
In recent weeks, Amazon has announced new Echo models that expand into video and touchscreen capabilities, along with voice calling. Stats show the company is dominating the smart speaker market.
Apple has been rumored to be working on a Siri speaker for months and now is the right time for it to make an appearance.
AAPL stock has had several years to study what works and what doesn’t with the Amazon Echo. The company has its HomeKit smart home toolkit to work with, and an unrivalled relationship with developers through its App Store. Apple also owns one of the most popular premium audio brands in the world in Beats.
With the 10th anniversary iPhone 8 expected to dominate its fall release schedule, WWDC 2017 seems like the perfect opportunity to launch that Siri speaker. The timing takes advantage of the developers on hand at the event, getting them working on “skills” for the Apple smart speaker. The announcement of a Siri speaker on June 5 would also take some of the wind out of Amazon’s Echo Show and Echo Look just as they launch (Echo Show goes on sale two weeks after WWDC).
According to MacRumors, noted Apple analyst, KGI Security’s Ming-Chi Kuo has the odds at greater than 50% AAPL will announce the Siri speaker at WWDC 2017.