Despite an early start, Apple is playing catch up to rivals like Google and Amazon when it comes to gadgets infused with artificial intelligence such as Amazon’s Echo home speaker.
But while Amazon’s Echo has proven popular with consumers, Apple CEO Tim Cook doesn’t think home speakers are the future.
The reason: A home speaker isn’t with you all the time.
During Apple’s quarterly earnings conference call on Tuesday, Cook said the phone will remain the primary device with which consumers interact with the new breed of virtual assistants.
“I think that most people would like an assistant with them all the time,” Cook said. “I think the advantage of one on the phone will likely be much greater… we’ve shipped more assistant-enabled devices than probably anyone out there.”
Still, Cook didn’t totally dismiss the category of assistants in the home, calling it a “nice market.” Apple has been developing its own Siri-powered competitor, according to Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, but it’s unclear if the product will ever launch.
The false tradeoff
Cook also reiterated Apple’s stance that AI should still be useful without compromising privacy.
“It’s a false tradeoff that you have to give up privacy in order to have AI do something for you,” Cook said. “We don’t buy that.”
It’s a fair point, but Cook’s argument falls flat, at least for now. Siri continues to be panned for not being as capable as the competition, despite launching five years ago.
On its first try, Google launched an amazing assistant called Google Assistant on the new Pixel phone. You can read more about that here, but the main reason it’s so good is because it’s able to tap into your data stored in all of Google’s services like Gmail, search, Photos, and Calendar.
However, Cook hinted that Apple may be able to improve Siri, saying it would “take a different kind of work” in order to maintain privacy.
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