Image: Jason Ralston Image: Jason Ralston

Apple’s market cap has passed $800 billion, while Amazon prepares a new version of its Echo smart speaker, and rumours suggest Apple is set to enter the smart speaker business.

“Okay, Google, why is Apple valued at $800 billion?”

“Because its latest results were better than expected – although iPhone sales fell in the last quarter, services now make up 13 per cent of revenue. Its PE ratio is 18 – meaning its market cap is 18 times greater than projected net profits in the year ahead. The average PE for the S&P 500 is 25, so by that measure Apple is not that expensive.”

Umm, not sure that Google Home is that analytical, but maybe it will be.

“Alexa, are you going to get any better?”

“Yes, I am, Amazon – my makers – are planning a screen for me, so that you can see the results, of your enquiries and not just hear them.”

“Thanks for that information Alexa, but won’t that make you like a smart phone or tablet, only not mobile?”

“Err, I hadn’t thought of that.”

“Siri, tell me, are you going to make your way onto a smart speaker system?”

“Yes, according to rumours, my makers – Apple – are planning an Echo type product, only better, it will identity people through face recognition software.”

And moving away from asking Siri, Alexa or Google Home, here is some Fresh Business Thinking analysis?

Which company will be the first to be valued at one trillion dollars? That maybe Aramco, the state-owned Saudi oil company due to float soon. But if we focus on which tech will get there first, Apple must be favourite, as it is so close anyway. But maybe the title ‘first tech’ to pass one trillion will go to the one that can win the smart speaker battle.

But here is an idea for Siri, Alexa and Google Home, whenever you are listening to news on the radio or TV, and someone says something that is inaccurate, how about if Siri, Alexa and Google Home interrupt with a correction.

And here is another idea, in an age when AI and search algorithms may only provide us with information that confirms our already held views, maybe our smart speakers could challenge us, make us more questioning of the lies that seem to be forced down our throats more and more often.

Ikea has been conducting research, and asked respondents to a questionnaire: ‘How do you want your AI to behave?’ Three possible answers were given with 29 per cent clicking on the box labelled ‘motherly and protective’, 24 per cent ‘Autonomous and challenging’ and 46 per cent ‘Obedient and assisting’.

Maybe we need it to be the other way around.