Sci-tech

HomePod manufacturer says facial recognition will come to speakers

Apple's new Face ID technology may be coming to a living room near you.

According to a report from the Nikkei Asian Review (via AppleInsider), it seems that Apple supplier Inventec has suggested that in the future, smart speakers could also come with facial recognition features.

Analysts, though, interpret this to mean that Ho is referring to the next generation of HomePods after the model we're supposed to see hit shelves in a few weeks.

Ho didn't specify the HomePod but it was a natural inference since Inventec manufactures that smart speaker and the iPhone X prioritized the use of the Face ID recognition system. Sign up for the free Good Morning Silicon Valley newsletter. It relies on a component Apple is calling the TrueDepth camera, which is in fact a combination of parts including an infrared camera, a projector which sprays the face with dots invisible to the human eye, and more. Last week, Bloomberg reported Apple is working on a redesigned iPad that would have the home button replaced with Face ID for next year. While Ho didn't mention Apple's HomePod by name, he did say that Inventec Appliances is also producing a voice enabled smart speaker by the end of the year.

According to Inventec Appliances' president David Ho, it's face-recognizing technologies like that which he's expecting to see in future smart speakers.

Despite a December launch date, it is still unknown when exactly the HomePod will be released. Announced first at the Worldwide Developers Conference in May, Apple boasted about the $349 HomePod's high-tech speaker abilities with artificial intelligence powered by Siri.

Inventec Appliances, a subsidiary of Taiwanese electronic contract manufacturer Inventec, now monopolizes orders for the HomePod as well as AirPods, Apple's wireless earbuds, according to analysts. But Liao thinks HomePod shipments will rise to 4 million in 2018.



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