Apple's HomePod pumps up the volume on its tech rivals

Angelica Greene
June 7, 2017

Apple has announced the HomePod, a breakthrough wireless speaker for the home that delivers wonderful audio quality and uses spatial awareness to sense its location in a room and automatically adjust the audio. Augmented reality, artificial intelligence, smart speakers, digital assistants, convolutional neural networks, machine learning and computer vision were all mentioned in some way, shape or form during the address. We do a comparison of features to find out!

HomePod will take on lower priced Amazon Echo and Google Home, which have had momentum in the arena of voice-controlled speakers capable of controlling smart appliances, fetching content from the internet and more.

The personal voice assistants in all these three speakers differentiate them from the hundreds other Bluetooth and Wi-Fi speakers available in the market. It's nearly comical that some critics, in the same breath that they praise all things Steve Jobs, bemoan Jobs' choice of successor.

During the keynote, Apple was much more intentional with how it described Siri beyond voice.

KitGuru Says: Honestly I'm a little surprised that Apple didn't think to release its own wireless speaker sooner, especially when you take into account how popular iPod docks/speakers were over the years.

Despite Amazon's dominance, the smart speaker market is still considered a worthwhile investment due to its growth prospects. HomePod owners will only be able to stream music from Apple Music, and will not be able to use a third party service such as Spotify as an alternative.

First there was Amazon's Echo, introduced to the public in 2014.

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Apple brought its smart speaker into the world with a shoddy name and an unconventional pitch, but anyone brash enough to cast the device to the side so easily will surely pay the price.

The report stated that the number of Americans using home assistants is expected to more than double this year.

Apple said that HomePod is a hub to control Home when out and about. To believe in HomePod is to believe in the market for home audio and to believe in Apple's ability to execute a product-first strategy.

On the other hand Amazon Echo and Google Home supports nearly all smart home integrations. The company "can't afford to yield valuable real-estate in the heart of people's homes to Amazon, Google and others", said Geoff Blaber, research analyst at CCS Insight. It's clear Apple has Sonos, probably moreso than Amazon or Google, in its crosshairs. From notifications for delayed flights to pre-set reminders to upcoming appointments to traffic updates and what not, both Echo and Home stand out to offer you something you will need on a daily basis. It clearly costs more than the other brands but Apple is confident that the product and its state-of-the-art features will justify its price. You're looking at a four-inch high-excursion woofer that's supported by seven one-inch tweeters that point in every direction, and six microphones. Google's machine learning technology is only getting more advanced as time goes on, too.

The new iPads will be available from next week, and include a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera as well as a 7-megapixel camera at the front of the device.

Given it's price and features ( or lack of it), it seems very hard for HomePod to challenge Google Home or Amazon Echo. Apple expects to launch the HomePod in December.

Other reports by GizPress

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