While there's no doubt the $349 speaker will be a fast best-seller thanks to the legion of Apple fans, it's long-term future will ultimately be determined by the larger music-listening community. Put differently, it's nearly like a Sonos speaker with the smarts of Siri, which is arguably not as intelligent as the others. HomePod will be available starting in December, initially in Australia, the United Kingdom and the US.
Apple has been making much of the audio capabilities of its brand new HomePod, saying that it's powerful enough to fill a whole room with rich sound. It's no accident that the HomePod has the same processor as an iPhone.
A survey released last month by research firm eMarketer found Echo speakers held 70.6 percent of the USA market, compared with 23.8 percent for Google Home. To do so, it supports over 30 streaming services including Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, and dozens more. Later this month, though, you'll be able to talk to the speaker in English or French, and have it play music, or operate a number of home automation devices that are supported. For now there doesn't appear to a toolkit that third-party programmers can use to create apps for the gadget or any way to distribute them to consumers, and Apple hasn't said anything on the subject (we've asked). Pricing of the device is also yet to be revealed. A person familiar with HomePod's development said it would have the same level of encryption as Siri and HomeKit. The most interesting announcement at the event was the launch of the Apple HomePod - Cupertino's attempt to recreate the humble speaker in much the same way that Steve Jobs iPod and iPhone.
What Does All This Mean?
But that's not what makes smart speakers like HomePod so compelling, is it? The speaker is equipped with a "high-excursion" woofer for deep bass and an array of seven tweeters that consistently focuses the sound 360 degrees around the speaker to appropriately fill the room.
Alexa and Assistant are the digital voice assistants of Amazon and Google, respectively.
Finally, Siri is getting her own spot to sit in homes and really open up her abilities. And Google, with Home, is not far behind, although, they only offer one device. And now with HomePod, Apple has a true voice assistant to bring into the home.
Amazon's Echo is designed for flexibility.
The remarks may come as a shock after Apple unveiled its new $349 (£270) smart HomePod home speaker at its 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference only days ago.
Speaking of the limited and delayed access of Siri, a developer Brian Roemmele, who attended WWDC said, "People went from being happy and excited to sitting in workshops and realising, I can't use it".
Apple's greed may also be a limiting factor. It's part of Apple's effort to entice professionals with tablets that can handle many tasks previously reserved for laptops. Could it be too little, too expensive, too late for Apple? Echo is powered by Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa.