Wed, May 03, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Inventec, Apple planning home AI device: analyst

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Inventec Corp (英業達), the sole assembler of Apple Inc’s wireless AirPods, is reportedly helping the US company produce its first home artificial intelligence (AI) product in the second half of this year.

KGI Securities Co (凱基證券) analyst Kuo Ming-chi (郭明錤) said in a report on Monday that Apple is likely to unveil a Siri-powered speaker during its annual developers’ conference, the WWDC 2017, in June and the product is to be manufactured by Inventec.

“The company has been codeveloping the home AI product with Apple for more than two years,” Kuo said in the report.

The device would be Apple’s first home AI product and would compete against Amazon.com Inc’s smart home assistance product Echo, Kuo said, adding that he estimates the price of the product would be more than the Echo’s US$179.

Kuo said the smart home AI market is too big for technology companies such as Apple to ignore, as the devices serve as the main controllers of other Internet-of-Things devices.

Apple could ship about 10 million units of the not-yet-announced home AI product in the first year, he forecast.

Another analyst, who declined to be named, said by telephone it is likely that Inventec is working on Apple’s voice-controlled home AI product, as the US company’s AirPods also rely on voice controls.

Inventec declined to comment on the report, saying that it cannot discuss its clients’ plans.

Inventec Appliance Corp (英華達) chief executive David Ho (何代水) on March 28 told investors that the company’s smart devices business, including smartphones, speakers and smart home products, would be one of its growth engines this year.

Shipments and revenue from smart devices, which contributed nearly 20 percent of Inventec’s total revenue last year, are forecast to climb by a double-digit percentage this year, Ho said.

Inventec shares closed 0.45 percent higher at NT$22.55 on the local bourse yesterday.

A total of 11.72 million shares were traded during the session, Taiwan Stock Exchange data showed.

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