The Siri Speaker, screen or no screen, and some thoughts about actual news

Mark Gurman and Alex Webb, this Bloomberg post:

The iPhone-maker has started manufacturing a long-in-the-works Siri-controlled smart speaker, according to people familiar with the matter. Apple could debut the speaker as soon as its annual developer conference in June, but the device will not be ready to ship until later in the year, the people said.

There’s more to the post, but that’s certainly the core chunk of news.

Now make your way over to this Daring Fireball post, where John Gruber digs through the Bloomberg piece, making three major points.

  • The Bloomberg article is long on words, short on actual news, journalism stretched for time. I hate to see this become habit and I certainly do my best to keep my stuff short and to the point (but being an old codger, I do tend to wander occasionally).

  • This:

The closer we get to the WWDC keynote, the more likely things are to get spoiled. But here we are 5 days out and no one has leaked just about anything about iOS 11 or MacOS 10.13, or what’s going on with this 10.5-inch iPad Pro, or if there’s anything new coming for WatchOS or tvOS. Again, there’s a lot of time between now and Monday morning, but it might be time to give Tim Cook credit for “doubling down on secrecy”.

Excellent point. In the olden days, Apple was a much smaller universe, with far fewer analysts, journalists, and op-ed speculators. To keep secrets in these times is truly an accomplishment. Kudos.

  • And finally, there’s the question of screen or no screen. From Gruber:

At the end of Gurman and Webb’s report: “Apple’s speaker won’t include such a screen, according to people who have seen the product.” That sets up a delicious claim chowder standoff with Ming-Chi Kuo, who wrote two weeks ago, “We also believe this new product will come with a touch panel.”

I put the question out there on Twitter, what recent products has Apple shipped without a touch screen? My thinking was, are any of these products similar to the Siri speaker concept? There’s the iPod shuffle, the Mac Pro, AirPods, the Airport Express, and the Apple TV.

To me, the Airport Express and the Apple TV seem the closest to the Siri speaker, screen-wise. To configure either of these devices, you use a separate screen. The complexity of the settings is too much for a built-in panel to properly serve.

And if the screen is intended as a feedback device, like a built-in iPad, for showing the weather or playing videos, that seems like a second generation add-on, a secondary SKU. Pure conjecture on my part, but I cast my claim-chowder-registered vote for no-screen.