Siri vs. Alexa vs. Google Assistant: Apple Struggling With Privacy Concerns

The HomePod, a wireless speaker for the home that allows users to ask Apple's voice assistant Siri to play music and ask questions, will retail for US$349 when it is released in December in the United Kingdom, the USA and Australia.

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.

Amazon and Google's existing speakers have also proved popular with consumers since the Echo launched in the United Kingdom in 2016 and Home earlier this year.

Six microphones in the speaker's base - one less than the Echo but four more than the Home - let HomePod pick up your requests from across the room (even with loud music playing).

The speaker is created to deliver the "deepest and cleanest bass possible" with "low distortion", providing a "well-balanced smooth timbre".

There are spec differences too: HomePod features 7 tweeters, a 4-inch woofer, a 6-microphone array and an Apple A8 chip processor, while Echo features a 2.0-inch tweeter, a 2.5-inch woofer, a 7-microphone array and a Texas Instruments processor.

Apple's HomePod will be available for $349 this December in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Both Amazon's Alexa and Google Home's Google Assistant will be able to power a swath of compatible home automation products and are directly linked to big home automation companies like Nest, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings and WeMo.

Siri vs. Alexa vs. Google Assistant: Apple Struggling With Privacy Concerns

"Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes", said Schiller.

The third combatant in this fracas will be the Amazon Echo.

Apple's HomePod smart speaker got lots of media exposure when Apple unveiled it on Monday, June 5. While the Echo and Home aren't known for great sound quality, Apple engineers - presumably with some help from Beats engineers - built the HomePod for high-fidelity audio quality. It is designed primarily to work along with Apple Music. The other smart speakers support their own company's music streaming services, as well as independent ones like Spotify and Pandora.

The focus of Apple HomePod is Apple Music, so to that end it is largely for entertainment. At $350 a speaker, HomePod is almost double the price of Amazon Echo, which retails for $180.

However, tell what you may to Apple fanatics, the HomePod is not without its obvious limits.

Apple is expected to announce plans this week to make its Siri voice assistant work with a larger variety of apps, but initial changes were expected to add just a small number of capabilities. It's not available for pre-order yet, but when it is, it will set you back $349. Apple's commitment to user privacy-as well as its relative lack of user data, compared to Google and Amazon-has also limited its ability to personalize Siri or anticipate users' needs.

  • Arturo Norris