Apple Downplays Echo Rivalry with its Audio-Focused HomePod Speakers

Angelica Greene
June 8, 2017

The company also rolled out tools for developers to create augmented reality applications for iPhones and iPads. Google and Amazon are betting that majority customers will just not care for it. These giants are battling over still-emerging fields that are expected to turn into technological gold mines, much the way personal computers and smartphones became moneymaking machines in previous decades.

Research firm eMarketer says than 35 million people in the U.S. are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than double its estimate from last year.The smart speaker works by talking to an updated Siri that better understands music-related requests, Apple said during its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California.Aaron stepping for Adam today, and I'm still recovering from trying to keep track of everything Apple packed into the two-hour plus keynote address on Monday at its annual developer conference.But Apple is late to the game on VR.Richard Windsor from Edison Investment Research said: "Apple has positioned this as something that the user buys for a high-quality audio experience with Siri coming as an added bonus". The HomePod is not expected to ship until December 2017, and it will cost $349, that is almost twice as the Echo ($179) and Google Home ($129) and is expensive. Post the installation of the update, Apple Watch users using Apple Pay will be able to receive and make person-to-person payments within Messages, or with Siri's help. With Apple Music integration, users have access to over 40 million songs from over 2 million artists.

When it comes to HomePod, Siri becomes a musicologist that will be able to understand my music taste and preferences and deliver the flawless playlist just when I ask "Siri play some music I like".

Where Apple may have the advantage is if it can, in fact, provide superior sound quality, given its stated focus on music. The HomePod can deliver the same type of home-controlling functions as Google's Home and Amazon's Echo, but it isn't priced or sized to wind up in every room. Google and Amazon have been saturating the market for a while now and figuring out the whole home assistant niche. Amazon launched the Echo in 2014, and Google initiated shipping past year its competitor, Google Home.

More than 35 million people in the US are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than doubling from last year, according the research firm eMarketer.

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The Apple HomePod is built for powerful sound, so should comfortably beat the Echo and Home - in theory, at least. During Jobs' last decade, Apple introduced the iPod, iPhone and iPad - all huge commercial successes that both reshaped daily life and swamped previous digital music players, smartphones and tablets.

"It's the biggest brain inside a speaker", Apple marketing head Phil Schiller proclaimed.

Still, it has several similarities with the other home-assistant offerings.

The Cupertino, California-based company said Siri, which also competes with Alphabet Inc's Google Assistant, would now work across devices. New iMacs released Monday are getting better displays and graphics capabilities. The company trying to make up ground on its competitors. The new variant has a Files app, searchable handwritten notes and new productivity features using Apple Pencil. It will also be possible to exchange data between gym equipment and the watch. It will allow users to automatically block auto-play videos by detecting videos that shouldn't be playing when you open a webpage to read an article, for example.

Siri also has a new home: inside Apple's brand new audio speaker, HomePod. Our data shows that consumers who tried a digital assistant a few times and did not get the answer or the task they wanted gave up and never tried again. "If you have other devices connected to Apple's smart home app, you can control them through the speaker as well".

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