Since Amazon’s Echo line of smart wireless speakers has been a lot more successful than anyone anticipated, it makes sense that now every big company in the tech space wants to put out a competitor for the Alexa-touting devices. Google announced its foray into this space at the I/O conference last week, and now it appears that Apple is working on such an offering of its own.

According to a new report this device might interestingly sport a built-in camera, and facial recognition features will ensure the gadget knows exactly who is talking to it at any given time. This would obviously let it automatically react to the presence of different people in the room where it’s located, quickly pulling up each one’s preferences. For example, you may enjoy certain settings for music listening as well as specific instructions for your smart light bulbs, and the gizmo would take all of that into account.

Unfortunately this isn’t set in stone yet, with Apple pulling the plug on the integrated camera still being a possibility. This means the product isn’t anywhere close to launch at this point. In fact, it’s said to arrive either at the end of the year or, more likely, in 2017.

The smart camera would be a neat differentiating feature for Apple’s competitor to the Amazon Echo and Google Home, but a backlash is sure to ensue given all the privacy implications of a device that ‘watches’ who’s in the room with it at all times.


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