Details of Apple’s upcoming Amazon Echo competitor are starting to surface, and it sounds like it could be both Apple’s most futuristic and creepiest product yet.
The iPhone-maker is considering adding a camera to its Echo rival, according to a new report that claims the device will be able to tell who is using it just by looking at you.
“Apple has explored putting a camera in its device, which could come in the form of a smart speaker like Amazon’s Echo,” reports CNET. “The device would be ‘self aware’ and detect who is in the room using facial recognition technology.”
By adding facial recognition technology, Apple’s Siri-powered device would be able to pull up a person’s favorite music, lighting, news alerts and more as soon as they walk in the room. That would give Apple a serious advantage over Amazon’s Alexa-powered products that don’t have preferrences for multiple people.
Rumors that Apple is taking on Amazon Echo first surfaced this week when a report from The Information claimed that Apple plans to open Siri to developers as its first step in the attack. A more dubious report by VentureBeat claims Apple plans to simply update the Apple TV with a microphone and speaker, but there would be some serious limitations if Apple followed that path.
The latest rumor claims Apple’s Siri speaker could be ready for release by the end of this year, though it’s more likely to launch in 2017. Apple is expected to announce its Siri SDK at WWDC 2016 next month, along with major software updates for iOS, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and OS X.