Phil Schiller, the Senior Vice President of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc., believes that if you don’t have something nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all. He also claims he has nothing to say to regarding either Amazon Echo or Google Home – so make of that what you will.
In an interview with Gadgets 360, the Senior Apple Exec didn’t exactly come straight out and say that he thought both products were awful. Instead, he hinted that it would be better for him not to speak about them, in case he ended up saying something unkind.
Schiller told the India-based tech site that, “I won’t talk to either [Amazon Echo or Google Home] 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. So, instead, let’s abstract the conversation just briefly to some of the general concepts and talk about those, because it’s really interesting.”
Are we witnessing the demise of the screen?
Mr. Schiller went on to say that Apple “deeply believes” in voice-driven assistants, which is why there’s so much investment in Siri.
He noted that there are times when using a screen is simply not convenient, nor safe.
“For example, if you’re driving [and] you want Siri to work for you without having to look at the screen, that’s the best thing,” he said.
However, in the world according to Phil Schiller, while voice assistants can be very helpful, that doesn’t mean you’d never want a screen. (We don’t think anyone was suggesting we’ll get to a stage were people would never want a screen, but we’re interested in what he has to say nevertheless.)
Schiller explains that, for instance, in the case of driving – it’s good to have a voice assistant, but once you have a chance to take your eyes of the road (having stopped safely, of course), you would also want visuals such as the ability to look at a map and the ability to assess at the traffic situation up ahead.
Phil Schiller reminds us that a picture is worth a thousand words
Mr. Schiller also talked about the fact that there are no voice-only games as of yet, and then mentioned photography, saying:
“One of the most popular reasons for our products is photography now, and photography requires a screen. So the idea of a device without a screen, well it’s not really useful for that whole category of photos that we all share… all the social networking apps that are now embracing photos more and more, well, it doesn’t work really so great in voice-only assistants.”
Again, these are slightly odd examples from Phil Schiller. There’s no suggestion that devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home – which are primarily designed to make using connected things around the home easier – suddenly have to play the role of every device we ever use, in any situation.
Voice-only photography is an interesting thought, though. The idea that instead of uploading images of our meals to social media, we will in future upload audio taken from devices like Amazon Echo or Google Home, which describes our meals in great detail. That would be even more fascinating for our friends than images of meals already are.
Despite Schiller’s thoughts, it seems inevitable that Apple will soon have something similar to Amazon Echo or Google Home to sync with Siri.
In fact, according to information obtained by MacRumors, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities said:
“We believe there is an over 50% chance that Apple will announce its first home AI product at WWDC in June and start selling in the [second half of 2017] in order to compete with the new Amazon Echo models…”
It’s worth noting that Mr. Schiller, rather than thinking there is anything wrong with Google Home or Amazon Echo as specific products, seems to think voice-only devices are a strange idea in general.
We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, though, that this was just a fun, freewheeling interview, and that his opinions do not represent those of Apple as a whole.