Amazon shames Apple with Echo Show

Amazon has leaped ahead of Apple yet again with its new Echo Show device. Will Apple ever catch up with Amazon in the home voice assistant market?

Apple has had enormous success in the smartphone market. The iPhone is the most profitable mobile device ever created. But the company has lagged far behind some of its competitors in other areas, including the burgeoning home voice assistant market.

Amazon, on the other hand, has been way ahead of Apple with its Alexa-powered Echo devices. Now Amazon has leaped ahead again with a new Echo Show device that adds a screen to its Alexa voice assistant product.

The Echo Show will be released on June 28, 2017. It sells for $229.99 and you can pre-order it today from Amazon.

Here’s the official description of the Echo Show:

Echo Show brings you everything you love about Alexa, and now she can show you things. Watch video flash briefings and YouTube, see music lyrics, security cameras, photos, weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists, and more. All hands-free—just ask.

Introducing a new way to be together. Talk to family and friends who have an Echo or the Alexa App.

See lyrics on-screen with Amazon Music. Just ask to play a song, artist or genre, and stream over Wi-Fi. Also, stream music on Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and more.

Powerful, room-filling speakers with Dolby processing for crisp vocals and extended bass response

Ask Alexa to show you the front door or monitor the baby's room with compatible cameras from Ring and Arlo. Turn on lights, control thermostats and more with WeMo, Philips Hue, ecobee, and other compatible smart home devices.

With eight microphones, beam-forming technology, and noise cancellation, Echo Show hears you from any direction—even while music is playing

Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Jeopardy!, Allrecipes, CNN, and more

It’s clear from the Echo Show product page that Amazon is moving very swiftly in this space. The company is forging ahead with new features and functionality that will no doubt attract even more people to its Alexa-powered devices.

Where is Apple’s voice assistant home hub?

Meanwhile Apple still has no home voice hub on the market, despite having had an early start on Amazon way back when Siri was first introduced for the iPhone. Apple squandered that lead, and shows no sign of being able to even catch up with Amazon, never mind taking the lead with a Siri-powered voice assistant hub for the home.

About all we have so far are rumors that Apple is finalizing its designs of an Amazon Echo competitor.

Roger Fingas reports for AppleInsider:

Apple is said to be "currently finalizing" designs for its long-rumored Amazon Echo competitor, featuring support for Siri and AirPlay and boasting Beats technology, a well-known leak source claimed on Thursday.

The Echo speaker —based on Amazon's Alexa voice assistant —has proven a surprise hit, such that Alexa is quickly migrating to other devices like phones and set-tops. Ecobee's next HomeKit-enabled thermostat, the Ecobee4, is expected to have Alexa built in.

An Apple version of the Echo concept would ensure that Siri isn't relegated into the sidelines among voice assistants, another rival being Google Assistant, found on devices like the Google Home.

More at AppleInsider

So Apple is sort of…kind of…maybe…getting ready to release a Siri-powered competitor to the Echo. But I’m not holding my breath waiting for it to be released. Apple might or might not be working on such a product, but even when it is released it will probably be far too little and far too late.

Apple has the cash, so what’s the problem?

It boggles the mind that Apple has been left so far in the dust by Amazon in the home voice assistant market. As I write this post Apple has more than $250 billion dollars, the company is awash in so much money that it doesn’t know what to do with it all.

So why hasn’t Apple caught up to Amazon?

I think it has to do with Apple’s laser-like focus on the iPhone, its most profitable product by far. Apple has become so obsessed with its phone that it has let other opportunities pass it by. The company has even had a problem updating its Mac computers, so focused has it been on the iPhone.

In that sense the iPhone has been a mixed blessing. It has provided the company with rivers of money, but it has also blinded it to new opportunities and new markets. iPhone induced myopia seems to be the Achilles Heel of Apple. I wonder when or if the company will ever be able to better balance its product development efforts in other areas while still keeping the iPhone up to date.

Kudos to Amazon for beating Apple yet again

I have to tip my hat to Amazon for releasing the Echo Show so quickly. Say what you will about Amazon, the company can move like greased lightning when it wants to release a new product (unlike certain other companies that take forever to get anything done these days).

I have a friend who already owns an Echo, and he absolutely loves it. He also owns an iPhone and iPad. But when he’s home it’s Alexa that is his voice assistant, not Siri. He more or less gave up on Siri a long time ago, like many of us.

I suspect that Amazon is going to have another huge hit on their hands with the Echo Show. The company will expand its installed base of home hub devices, and more and more people will come to depend on Alexa as their preferred voice assistant.

And Apple?

Well I’m sure we’ll see a new iPhone in September. Zzzzzzzz…

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Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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