Apple Wants to Rock the Market With HomePod, Faces Challenges

At Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference held in San Jose on Monday morning, the iPhone giant announced HomePod, a 7-inch tall speaker for $349.

Apple has announced HomePod, its new wireless speaker and home assistant product which aims to rival Google Home and Amazon's Echo device. The HomePod is the new digital speaker that will come loaded with Siri, similar to Amazon's Echo and Google Home which packs Alexa and Google Assistant respectively.

Apple is finally jumping into the smart speaker craze. That's a bold claim given that this is Apple's first major foray into the speaker market.

But the Apple HomePod looks to be different.

Does Limp think HomePod poses a competitive challenge to Amazon? We've compared the best bits of each AI-fuelled speaker so you can compare and decide if the HomePod will make it onto your gadget Christmas wish-list when it launches in the United Kingdom in December 2017.

The Siri-enabled speaker links up with the Apple Home app, allowing users to control their connected smart home devices by voice, without touching their iPhone or iPad.

The Echo costs $180 which does not make it the cheapest of the trio here though Amazon also has another trick up its sleeve, the Echo Dot that costs just $50.

Apple has just given us a sneak peak at its first foray into the world of smart assistant powered speakers, just one of many launches from WWDC 2017.

Apple® today announced HomePod™, a breakthrough wireless speaker for the home that delivers fantastic audio quality and uses spatial awareness to sense its location in a room and automatically adjust the audio.

Apple Vice-President Phil Schiller said the company's Siri team had tuned the assistant into a "musicologist" that learns the tastes of listeners and gets songs from the Internet cloud. Our data shows that consumers who tried a digital assistant a few times and did not get the answer or the task they wanted gave up and never tried again. Or if someone texts you about owing money, it will ask if you want to pay using Apple Pay. Neither Echo and Google Home are excellent speakers, in fact, audio quality is perhaps both's greatest weakness.

Of course, this is nothing unusual for Apple to charge a premium for its technology products.

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

Is 350 bucks for a fancy speaker going to be too much? Additionally, HomePod will allow messaging - something my Google Home now apologizes for not being able to do. The highlight of the WWDC was the unveiling of the Home Pod, a Siri-driven home music system.

Limp also talked about what Amazon has learned about the market and consumer preference as it has released and refined its Echo offerings over the past several years. "I don't know if I can envision it but I hope that will happen on behalf of customers". In December, Apple will ship the HomePod, which will use the HomeKit platform.

In contrast, most Apple devices have the latest iOS operating system, which means the company's new AR capabilities will quickly reach millions of real customers - a much more enticing outcome for developers.

But O'Donnell also expressed scepticism on Apple's ability to dominate this new segment.

Apple, however, doesn't want the HomePod to just be a speaker, but rather a computer for the whole home.

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