The first Bluetooth speaker of the Cupertino-based behemoth that is yet to hit the stores, Apple Homepod, already has a heir in the operations. As per a report from Nikkei, Inventec Appliances, the supplier of Apple Homepod, is operating on the next-generation Homepod with one of the aspects that first made an entry with the iPhone X—image and facial recognition.
“We witness trends that engineers are developing smart speakers that will not only come with recognition for voice but also slot in functions such as image and facial recognition,” claimed David Ho, president of Inventec Appliances, to the media in an interview after the earnings conference of the company. “Such AI-connected functions are set to make lives of the users more suitable and to make the device simpler to use,” he claimed further. It has also been cited that Ho was doubtful if smart speakers added in features of AI will be a success in future.
Even though Ho did not disclose which devices in specific he was speaking of, going by some experts and the fact that the company is the manufacturer of Apple Homepod, Ho was expectedly speaking of the next-generation Homepod speakers. Nikkei mentions Jeff Pu, an Yuanta Investment Consulting’s expert, claiming that the Cupertino-based behemoth might roll out Homepod in 2019 attached with “3D sensing” cameras. Ho, speaking of the present Homepod iteration, claimed that the firm will begin shipping the devices by the end of 2017 (which is within upcoming 90 Days) to meet the demands of the holiday season.
Inventec Appliances will export this year only 50,000 units of Homepod, as per an expert from Taipei-located Fubon Securities, Arthur Liao. The U.S., the U.K., and Australia are amongst the first nations to receive the smart speaker. “As per supply-chain verification, Apple is ready to make 4 Million units of HomePod in 2018, but we are presently a bit traditional if the demand might be that good,” he claimed.
It is worth citing that Inventec Appliances not only makes Homepods but also has a deal to make Apple Airpods. It is also accountable for the manufacturing of Xiaomi handsets in China, Sonos smart speakers, and Fitbit products.