Amazon aims for Apple with 15 surprising new products | Cult of Mac

Amazon aims for Apple with 15 surprising new products


Amazon fired shots at the HomePod, AirPods, CarPlay and more today.
Photo: Amazon

Amazon is ready to push Alexa into every single corner of your life with a new wave of Echo products unveiled this morning.

Armed with 15 new products, Amazon is ready to challenge Apple like never before. The company even introduced some bold new products, like new smart glasses and a smart ring — wearables that give you 24/7 access to Alexa wherever you go. While Apple’s iPhone 11 keynote featured zero mentions of Siri, Amazon’s yearly product keynote put Alexa’s might on full display.

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Amazon Alexa vs. Siri

Amazon is on a mission to make Alexa smarter than Siri. And the company seems intent on baking its AI assistant into pretty much everything. On the privacy side, Amazon will now let you know what Alexa hears — and to delete data regularly. The company also added neural text-to-speech, like Apple added to Siri. However, Amazon took it a step further by introducing celebrity voices. Multilingual support, Frustration Detection, Wi-Fi controls, car integration and much more are also coming to Alexa.

Apple’s strategy with Siri hasn’t been nearly as aggressive as Amazon’s. The way Apple sees it, Siri is already everywhere because you take your iPhone everywhere. Amazon’s new lineup of products makes it so you don’t even have to pull your iPhone out of your pocket to get help from a digital assistant. Here are all the new ways Amazon is looking to squeeze Alexa into your life.

Echo Buds

Amazon's new Echo Buds pack features and a price tag AirPods can't match
Echo Buds pack features and a price tag AirPods can’t match.
Photo: Amazon

Amazon is ready to make an attempt to compete with Apple’s uber-popular AirPods. The Echo Buds are small, black and fit in your ear wirelessly, but don’t have a microphone stem like the AirPods. They pack five hours of battery life and get 20 hours total with the charging case.

Amazon partnered with Bose to add noise-reduction technology, making Echo Buds one of the only truly wireless buds to feature the technology — and certainly the cheapest. Double-tapping the buds turns noise reduction on or off so you can hear the world around you. Alexa support is built-in. You can also tap and hold the voice command button to bring up Siri if you’re using an iPhone.

Price: $129.99 (preorder today, ships October 30)

Echo Frames

With Amazon's new Echo Frames, you can't even tell they're smart glasses.
You can’t even tell they’re “smart glasses.”
Photo: Amazon

Echo Frames aren’t the high-tech AR glasses of the future we’ve been waiting for, but they’re a step in that direction. There’s no display or cameras built into the frame. Instead, Echo Frames pack discrete speakers pointed at the wearer to deliver notifications.

The Frames are the first wearable Alexa device, giving you all-day access to Amazon’s smart assistant. Amazon neglected to mention battery life details. Echo Frames can be used with prescription lenses, but for now, there’s only one design. And you can only buy them if you get a special invite from Amazon.

Price: $179.99

Echo Loop

Echo Loop is one of the first products from Amazon's Day 1 Editions program
Echo Loop is one of the first products from Amazon’s Day 1 Editions program.
Photo: Amazon

Another one of Amazon’s invite-only products, the Echo Loop is a wearable ring with two built-in microphones to pick up your Alexa commands, and a tiny speaker to relay info. Wearers activate Alexa by pushing a button on the Echo Loop’s titanium frame. The built-in haptic engine sends alerts via vibrations and stays connected to your iPhone throughout the day, allowing you to make Alexa queries from anywhere without reaching for your phone.

Price: $129.99

Echo Dot with Clock

Echo Dot with Clock: The tiniest of the Echoes just got more useful
The tiniest of the Echoes just got more useful.
Photo: Amazon

Amazon updated its most popular smart speaker with a new LED display. The new Echo Dot with Clock can show the time and act as an alarm clock. You also can change the display settings so it shows things like the temperature or alarm time.

Price: $59.99 (preorder today)

New Echo smart speaker

Now Amazon's Echo smart speaker comes in blue
Now Echo comes in blue.
Photo: Amazon

The new Echo takes the features that made the Echo Plus great and wraps them in an even more affordable package. Inside you’ll find neodymium drivers and a 3-inch woofer along with increased back volume. Bass supposedly feels stronger, while the mids and highs sound clearer.

Price: $99.99 (preorder today, ships October 23)

Echo Studio

Echo Studio packs a lot of power into a small enclosure.
That’s a lot of power in a small enclosure.
Photo: Amazon

This is Amazon’s closest answer to the HomePod in terms of audio quality. It supports 3D audio and Dolby Atmos. And, like HomePod, it scans the room automatically to optimize the acoustics.

Echo Studio boasts three midrange speakers, a directional tweeter and 5.25-inch bass driver at the bottom. You can pair two Studios together along with a subwoofer for an even more immersive setup. 4K Fire TV devices also can connect to Echo Studio

Price: $199.99 (preorder today)

Echo Show 8

The Echo Show now comes in three screen sizes
The Echo Show now comes in three screen sizes.
Photo: Amazon

The new Echo Show 8 is pretty much exactly like the Echo Show 5 that came out earlier this year, only it comes with an 8-inch screen. It’s mainly aimed at video calling, which might creep some people out, so there’s a privacy shutter on the camera. Amazon also envisions it as a cooking tool. Discovery and Food Network partnered with Amazon for a new service that serves up 80,000 recipes you can watch.

Price: $129.99 (preorder today, ships November 21)

Echo Glow

Echo Glow is so cheap, Amazon will sell a ton
It’s so cheap, Amazon will sell a ton of them.
Photo: Amazon

Echo Glow is an Alexa companion device mostly aimed at kids, but it has some cool features that adults might appreciate, too. It’s basically just a color-changing lamp with Alexa built-in. Tapping the top cycles through the colors. Users can ask Alexa to change the light to a campfire light for playtime, a Sleep Timer that gradually dims, or dance party lights.

Price: $29.99 (preorder today, ships November 20)

Echo Flex

Third-party companies can build on the Echo Flex platform
Third-party companies can build on the Flex platform.
Photo: Amazon

Echo Flex is a tiny Alexa port you can plug into your wall outlet. You can use it to add voice command points throughout your house without adding Echo speakers to each room.

Packed with a tiny speaker and two buttons, it packs a USB port on the bottom that allows you to charge devices through it. Accessory-makers can utilize the port at the bottom with Amazon’s new APIs to expand Flex’s capabilities. Currently, there are options for a motion sensor and night-light accessories, each costing $14. Even more accessories should arrive in the future.

Price: $24.99 (preorder today, ships November 14)

New Eero mesh router

Eero is one of our favorite routers now that Apple doesn't make any
This is one of our favorite routers now that Apple doesn’t make any.
Photo: Eero

The new Eero is a follow-up to Amazon’s popular whole-home mesh Wi-Fi router, with dual-band radio and adaptive backhaul. Amason touts Eero setup time as taking less than 10 minutes. The router’s design looks a bit different than the previous model, and Amazon also cut some green off the price tag.

Price: $99 for one, $249 for three (available today in United States)

Ring Retrofit Alarm Kit

Instead of having to upgrade your entire home alarm, the new retrofit alarm kit lets you use Ring with your house’s existing system. All you need to do is connect your old security system to the hub. Then you can use the sensors already installed on your home — you don’t have to buy new accessories.

Price: $199.99 or $375.99 when bundled with the Ring Alarm Hub (coming in November)

Ring Stick Up Cam

You can put the Ring Stick Up Cam pretty much anywhere
You can put this camera pretty much anywhere.
Photo: Amazon

Just in time for Halloween, Amazon introduced the new Ring Stick Up Cam. The tiny Ring camera shoots 1080p video and offers motion detection and night vision. You can plug it into a power outlet, run it off battery power, or go solar with an accessory that costs an extra $50.

You can connect multiple Stick Up Cams to each other and then tap into their video feeds via the Live View feature. And, of course, it works with Alexa.

Price: $99.99 (preorder today, ships October 23)

Ring Indoor Cam

Beef up your home's security on the cheap with Ring Indoor Cam
Beef up your home’s security on the cheap.
Photo: Amazon

The Ring Indoor Cam is pretty much the same as the Stick Up Cam, only Amazon built it for indoor use. It offers the same motion detection, night vision and two-way talk features. It lacks a battery-powered option, though, so you must install it near an electrical outlet.

Price: $59.99 (available today)

Alexa Smart Oven

The Echo Smart Oven's scan-to-cook feature works with packaged meals
The Echo Smart Oven’s scan-to-cook feature works with packaged meals.
Photo: Amazon

In a follow-up to its popular smart microwave, Amazon is back with a 4-in-1 Smart Oven. It’s a combination microwave, convection oven, air fryer and food warmer. You can control it with your voice, directly or through Echo speakers. Amazon added dozens of carefully tested presets for common foods, allowing you to give Alexa commands like “microwave popcorn.” Alexa will announce when to stir the food during cooking — and let you know when it’s finished.

Price: $249.99 (preorder today, ships November 14)

Ring Fetch

Amazon is dipping its toes into the tracking game with Ring Fetch
Amazon is dipping its toes into the tracking game.
Photo: Amazon

Watch out, Apple Tags: Amazon launched its own Tile competitor today. Called Ring Fetch, it’s a location tracker for pets — but you could always slap it onto other things. One of Fetch’s coolest features allows you to set a geofence around your yard. If your dog goes outside that area, you get an alert.

Price: Unknown (shipping next year)


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