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Apple exec mocks Google Home and Amazon Echo

Commentary: In an interview, Apple's worldwide marketing chief, Phil Schiller, has nothing good to say about other companies' home AI devices.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Nothing good to say about Google Home and Amazon Echo.

Stephen Lam/Getty Images

Perhaps you like the idea of a box in your living room that talks to you, turns the lights on for you, yet still can't make you breakfast.

It seems, though, that Apple's SVP of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, isn't impressed with the ones he's seen so far.

In an interview with India's Gadgets 360, Schiller dripped scorn on both Amazon Echo and Google Home.

"Well, I won't talk to either one specifically, [I] don't want to. My mother used to have a saying that if you don't have something nice to say, say nothing at all," he said.

Regular parsers of words might conclude that he said a lot by supposedly saying nothing at all. He rather suggested, indeed, that he had nothing good to say about either of them.

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Perhaps it's the Apple way never to praise competitors publicly, but to privately borrow one or two things they come up with -- such as, oh, large-screen phones that were introduced by Samsung years before Apple got around to them.

Or perhaps it's a clue that Apple is, indeed, thinking of creating a home AI assistant of its own -- one that can make your bacon and eggs, perhaps.

Schiller went on to address some of the principles behind AI home assistants that he believes are important.

"There's many moments where a voice assistant is really beneficial," he said, "but that doesn't mean you'd never want a screen. So the idea of not having a screen, I don't think suits many situations."

He gave driving, photography and gaming as examples where a screen is useful, if not vital. Is this a clue, then, that Apple might launch a home assistant with a screen? (After all, Amazon might.) Just imagine if you could personalize your visual Siri to look like your spouse, Brad Pitt or Ivanka Trump.

But what do real experts think? Well, CNET's reviewers prefer Amazon Echo over Google Home. Moreover, Home suffered something of a tweak to its image when Burger King tried to game it for its own publicity.

As for Apple, one imagines that if it did launch a home assistant it would be so glorious to look at that you'd have to show it off to your friends.

Perhaps an Apple home assistant could even entertain your guests, as you're preparing the turkey burgers with quinoa and kumquat in the kitchen. It could even ask your guests the questions that you're too afraid to ask.

"So," says Home Siri, "I hear you two are having problems. Tell me about it."

The glories of AI have only just begun.

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