Introducing Apple's Homepod - will you be purchasing?

John Ternus

Introducing Apple's Homepod - will you be purchasing?

Introduced at Apple's WWDC 2017 conference, the 178mm tall speaker is created to work with an Apple Music subscription, and will go head to head with Amazon's Alexa ecosystem and Google Home this December. Their common inspiration for what's ahead is Star Trek's omnipresent, voice-activated assistant "Computer", which could do everything from calculating a starship's trajectory to making a nice cup of tea. HomePod works with all iOS and Mac OS devices, HomeKit devices, Siri voice control and Apple Music.

The Home and Echo also include mute buttons.

Are You There, Siri? Anyone with an Apple Music subscription can use the speaker to access their playlists, as well as over 40 million songs. There wasn't much excitement in the announcement, or many details given, but a little more has been shared since the initial announcement. The most popular paid apps are usually games. This can be an unsettling concept for people anxious about privacy, but companies say they're not recording when not in use. Is that enough? Maybe not on it's own, but we're forgetting about the giant chunk of people Apple can cound on every single time: Apple users.

Apple's greed may also be a limiting factor.

People interact with the digital assistants on those speakers more frequently than on their phones, according to Technalysis Research of Foster City.

It will come with an upgraded version of the Safari web browser which will prevent videos from autoplaying and prevent users from being tracked across sites. "That led the Apple iPod Hi-Fi to poor reviews and a quiet death". Both Google Home and Amazon Echo support third-party offerings.

No one was expecting Apple to price its hardware aggressively. Meanwhile, the Google Home, unsurprisingly, is great for Googling things.

But with Apple announcing its HomePod smart speaker yesterday, the future between Apple and Amazon products working together is integral, especially to the flourishing IoT market. Even though Apple, Amazon and Google encrypt the data, recordings are saved.

And similar to Google and Amazon smart speakers, Apple said audio information is not being recorded or sent to the Apple's cloud until the "Hey Siri" voice command has been issued. Apple did not say if or how its speaker could be muted.

That means the HomePod is a linear play - and a commoditized one. Pricier than the Google Home at $129 and Amazon Echo at $180, but the speaker quality may justify the higher price.

When it comes to smart home voice control, there's really no comparison.

A smart speaker is a small Wi-Fi connected speaker controlled with voice commands. Despite the company's delayed arrival, Apple is confident HomePod will rise to fame much like the iPhone and Apple Watch. Apple's products nearly always command a premium over rival offerings.

The HomePod only seems like a marginally out-of-touch product now.

Each product is a way for a company to sell its own services, like Apple Music, Amazon Prime and Google Play.

Speaking of those two, the Echo and Home account for almost 95% of all smart speaker users and have a near two-year lead on the HomePod.

"With Apple acquiring Bowers & Wilkins talent to develop AirPods, it's clear they are taking audio more seriously". It just looks like a bad business move. The company has committed to marketing itself on these grounds. "HomePod packs powerful speaker technology, Siri intelligence and wireless access to the entire Apple Music library into a lovely speaker that is less than 7 inches tall, can rock most any room with distortion free music and be a helpful assistant around your home".

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