Apple's Echo-like home speaker could have a camera for recognising users

Will Apple pull a Kinect and keep an eye on your family?

Just this week, rumours started spilling about Apple's plans to make a rival to Amazon's Echo, its A.I. powered home speaker/voice assistant - probably because Google just announced its own Home device.

The first report claimed that Apple's Siri-in-a-box had been in the works since before the Echo was released, although there was no timeframe for a release. And then yesterday's report said that the device might just be an upgraded Apple TV with a built-in speaker and microphone.

Well, here's another unexpected twist: CNET's sources claim that Apple might build in a camera for recognising users, and that the device would be "self aware." Anyone already concerned about the creeping influence of technology into our lives ought to be terrified right about now.

In truth, it sounds a lot like the Kinect sensor for Microsoft's Xbox One: if it recognises a user, Apple's device would automatically switch to that person's preferences, whether it's music choices, lighting settings, and likely other perks.

CNET's report says nothing about the device being a next-gen Apple TV device, so it doesn't corroborate yesterday's report out of VentureBeat. At this point, the Apple rumour mill is working exactly as usual: there are lots of conflicting reports, but somewhere in there might be truth. At least these are reputable publications in the mix.

If this report is to believed, Apple's home speaker device could be available before the end of 2016, although it's more likely to ship next year. Still, the sources say that Apple could scrap the device or functionality altogether, so we'll just have to wait and see if it surfaces.

[Source: CNET]