Apple Introduces HomePod Smart Speaker

Will Apple exclusively market the HomePod to the United States like Amazon does their Alexa device, it looks that way. We do a comparison of features to find out!

The Apple-designed A8 chip "provides the brains" behind the voice-activated speaker, which follows the releases of the already popular Amazing Echo and Google Home devices.

A survey released last month by research firm eMarketer found Echo speakers held 70.6 percent of the U.S. market, compared with 23.8 percent for Google Home. On a practical note, all of them work nearly the same way.

"Though Apple appears to be playing catch up with Amazon and Google, the primary casualty here may be Sonos". The company "can't afford to yield valuable real-estate in the heart of people's homes to Amazon, Google and others", said Geoff Blaber, research analyst at CCS Insight.

Streaming - Both Google Home and Echo supports direct Bluetooth Streaming and on-device Wi-Fi streaming (Plus, Chromecast streaming for Google Home).

"The fact that Apple is claiming to marry really great and smart audio with a smart assistant and cloud music service makes this device unique in the market so far".

What powers the HomePod speakers? And it knows that, for all its sci-fi promise, the smart speaker today is good mostly for one thing: playing audio on command.

"HomePod packs powerful speaker technology, Siri intelligence and wireless access to the entire Apple Music library into a handsome 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".

And HomePod can do that - some of the time, and only with Apple services. The Apple HomePod only works with the Apple HomeKit.

Where does this position Apple relative to Amazon and the Echo?

Apple Is Finally Bringing An Upgraded Siri Home: One of the messages from Apple this week is Siri has finally grown up. On the other hand, Apple didn't mention of any such productivity feature for their HomePod at the WWDC.

The HomePod is described as less than 7in tall, but is packed with seven speakers and a 4in sub-woofer.

With their lower prices - $130 for the Home, $50 for the Dot, $180 for the full Echo - it's also much more realistic for someone to buy a few and place them throughout the house.

Apple had plenty of other announcements.

The dimensions of the Apple HomePod are 6.8 inches in height and 5.6 inches in width. That's what we'll have to trust for now - until we get the opportunity to hear this device outside of a crowded hall environment. But go tell that to Apple Fanboys, who, I am pretty sure, will buy these in big numbers!

The HomePod is Apple's first new gadget in almost three years, following its announcement of the Apple Watch in September 2014.

  • Arturo Norris