Apple and Amazon Bury the Hatchet

Angelica Greene
June 9, 2017

"Dot and Echo through Bluetooth and Audio Out can connect to other speakers".

Apple vice president Phil Schiller said the company's Siri team tuned the virtual assistant as a "musicologist" that learns the tastes of listeners and gets songs from the internet cloud.

Apple doesn't have the same demands on its business to commercialize consumer data, and it's taken a stronger stance against digital tracking. And it would mark an effort by Apple to catch up with Amazon and Google.

At Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference held in San Jose on Monday morning, the iPhone giant announced HomePod, a 7-inch tall speaker for $349.

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Amazon introduced the Echo speaker, featuring its Alexa assistant, in 2015. But the real competition between Apple, Google and Amazon in smart speakers may come down to the quality of their intelligent assistants. Both speakers can respond to voice requests for the news, weather and tasks such as turning on the lights. According to market research firm eMarketer, Amazon will capture 70.6 percent of all voice-enabled speaker users in the USA this year. Echo Show will also make video calls, because Amazon can afford to stiff telcos after its smartphone flop.

The new HomePod has all of the features of Siri that we know like the ability to DJ, answer questions and control a room. Apple most likely will open up Siri to additional developers so they can integrate their apps with Siri, similar to how developers can build "skills" for Amazon's Alexa assistant. For Apple, having one would further broaden the role that its software, services and gadgets play in people's lives.

Apple lovers already tend to be "premium product buyers", and may not flinch at paying more for what they believe is a superior quality product, said Gartner analyst Brian Blau. HomePod, Apple Music and Siri deliver the best music experience in the home that streams ad-free directly to HomePod. But the company relented, and Apple's larger phones have become hot commodities as more people have embraced having a bigger display to look at pictures and watch video on the devices. By saying, "Hey Siri, I like this song", HomePod and Apple Music become the ideal musicologist, learning preferences from hundreds of genres and moods, across tens of thousands of playlists, and these music tastes are shared across devices.

In recent years, MacOS, Apple's desktop software, has taken a back seat to iOS in terms of major new features. For instance, Tool North America, an agency that specializes in artificial intelligence and internet of things technology, is interested in even understanding people's moods based on how they sound talking to home devices.

Other reports by GizPress

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