Recently, there has been more buzz about a potential Apple entry into the ambient voice computing devices space. Bloomberg wrote a report that Apple is working on an enhanced microphone array that could potentially include a camera. However, even that report claims that development is still early.
Looking at the timing of big announcements from Apple, they usually happen around predictable events such as WWDC. Unless there’s a surprise announcement, it might be 2017 or beyond before we see something.
In 2013, Apple was granted a patent for an iPad dock that could work to make Siri hands free. This seemed like a good potential move that would keep iPhone / iPad at center stage. Ideally, this type of interaction could work with a BT-paired device rather than one that was always physically docked. It might interact like a far field version of the EarPods.
Apple definitely has the chops to put together an Echo-like product but it’s real challenge is making something consistent with its brand and simple. Maybe in 2017?