Published: Sun, June 18, 2017
Electronics | By Jesus Weaver

Is Apple's HomePod Just A Glorified $350 Smart Speaker?

Is Apple's HomePod Just A Glorified $350 Smart Speaker?

On Monday, Apple showed off the HomePod, a seven-inch-tall Siri-enabled speaker, at its Worldwide Developers Conference, making the fight for smart-speaker domination that much more interesting. Whether you care about majority is not what I'm here to talk about, but I did want to at least highlight the HomePod, which is Apple's Google Home and Amazon Echo competitor.

Rather than taking on Amazon's Echo and Google Home, however, analysts see HomePod less as a "smart assistant", and more as a pure music player.

Apple has finally revealed its long awaited Siri-connected speaker at this year's WWDC, a direct rival to the likes of the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Apple explains it as "Apple-Designed Home Music Speaker with Amazing Sound Quality and Intelligence".

Here's how Apple's HomePod compares to Amazon Echo.

As for its hardware, the HomePod sports an array of six microphones; a set-up that is expected to let Siri hear the user's instructions or messages even when the music is playing loudly or the person is situated at a distance from the home speaker. When two HomePods are placed in the same room they become a pair of stereo speakers.

HomePod will initially be available from December in the UK, US and Australia. And while no voice A.I. service is a true standout yet, Apple is considered a laggard behind Amazon's and Google's A.I. assistant efforts. It also needs to be fun to use, Apple said.

Users can ask the speaker to read them the latest news, play podcasts, set reminders - everything that's already possible with Siri on other Apple devices. Today's announcement of the HomePod doesn't address that, either. Like other smart speakers, audio information isn't sent to Apple's cloud until this voice command has been issued, Apple said.

Apple might have been first to market with a digital assistant on the phone, but Siri has been surpassed by Amazon and Google.

Second, Limp argued people have varied tastes in speakers, so Amazon made it easy for customers to pair an Echo with your high-end home entertainment system. HomePod is shipping later this year - it's not quite ready for prime time. White and Space Grey and will cost you $349, which is fair in my opinion, keeping the Apple's product prices in mind.

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