Apple 'HomePod' speaker to take on Amazon, Google

10 June, 2017, 15:07 | Author: Alicia Barber
  • New smart speaker expected as Apple kicks off conference

Therefore the product is likely to be positioned for: (i) the high-end market; (ii) better entertainment experience; and (iii) higher price than Amazon Echo. They can call. I hope there is a day when that happens.

"Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes", said Schiller. "It will reinvent home audio", boasted Apple CEO Tim Cook. Like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, the HomePod will play music while also helping people to manage their lives and homes. So Apple wants to combine the best of both worlds.

Consumer spending on smart home related products and services will reach almost $90 billion this year and reach $155 billion by 2022, according to consultant Strategy Analytics. Six months is a lifetime in the world of devices, so will the HomePod actually look the same when it's finally available to buy later this year?

The device is a pill-shaped circular speaker. The speaker features an Apple-designed upward-facing woofer, paired with the custom A8 chip, enabling bass management through real-time software modelling.

This is considerably more than the $179.99 Amazon Echo.

The HomePod however, sounded crisp and bright no matter the musical genre fed through it - it rendered The Eagles as well it did Kendrick Lamar. The sound will need to be spectacular to tempt people to spend the extra cash. The speaker works with Apple Music, which allows easy access to a huge library of songs and playlists.

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The sound distribution is noticeably impressive - audio flies out in all directions and fills the room no matter where you stand or sit in relation to it.

"It's clearly about the hardware but also making Siri more obvious to consumers so you can see where she's getting smarter", said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Creative Strategies.

Siri was also front-and-center of Apple's machine-learning, a type of artificial intelligence that helps software adapt to data and recognize patterns automatically. And if you have HomeKit-enabled devices, you can control your lights, garage door, air conditioning and more using this speaker. Of course, HomePod has some shiny, innovative features like scanning your room to configure the sound to the ideal frequency, but again, these are some a few features Apple rolls out in its devices to justify its outlandish prices.

It's going to cost $349. The new iPad starts at $649 and will start shipping next week. Other countries will get HomePods next year.

One of the most interesting tidbits from Limp's interview at the conference was some insight on Amazon's philosophy about working with other players in the space. The company knows it's late to this market. For instance, Apple initially resisted enlarging the size of iPhone's screen despite strong sales for larger-display phones made by Samsung and other rivals.

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