Apple announces the HomePod, challenger to Amazon Echo and Google Home

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One of the most interesting announcements made today at Apple’s Annual WWDC was the release of the Apple HomePod, Apple’s entry into the home assistant arms race.

A straight up challenger to the champ, Amazon Echo and the runner-up, Google Home, Apple’s HomePod takes Siri out of your iPhone and places her squarely, for better or worse, in your living room. Marketed primarily as a wireless speaker, the HomePod will be able to use “spatial awareness” to sense its location in a room and adjust its audio accordingly. 

The HomePod is just under seven inches tall, has six microphones, and is powered by the Apple-designed A8 chip. One of the best features of the HomePod, something glaringly missing in the Echo, is the ability to sense other HomePods and unify the listening experience utilizing an update to AirPlay 2.

Of course, the HomePod, triggered by the phrase “Hey Siri,” will have all the requisite home assistant features like controlling HomeKit devices and answering basic questions.

Time will tell if Siri’s voice recognition can compete in the home with Amazon’s Alexa, but the HomePod’s specs certainly outpace the sound quality of Amazon’s device. Although at $350, the HomePod is about twice as expensive as the Echo.

The Apple HomePod will be available in December and is not yet available for preorder. The device comes in two colors, white and “space gray”.

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2 thoughts on “Apple announces the HomePod, challenger to Amazon Echo and Google Home”

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  2. O-Qua Tangin Wann

    So far, Apple has only mentioned that the Homepod will play music only if you pay for an Apple Music Monthly Subscription.

    I pay Apple $25 per year for their iTunes Match service. All of my many songs that I own are available to play on all of my devices (Apple TVs, Apple computers, iPhones, and iPads.)

    Will the Homepod have access to all of my iTunes Match songs, and will the Homepod be able to play them by me just requesting the name of the song? (The Apple TV 4 can do it with the Siri Remote Control. And I can ask Siri to play any song in my Match library by just asking on any of my connected devices.)

    I need Apple to confirm that the Homepod will support one’s iTunes Match account, as well, before I decide to buy the Homepod.

  3. I think key to Apple’s strategy is that they are going after a higher end wireless speaker market with AI. When you compare to less quality Echo yes the price is steep but when you compare to a better wireless Sonos speaker price it is on par. Where Amazon is really eating Apple lunch is platform API and 3rd party developer buy in. Amazon has huge momentum here with 100s of new features being add daily many developed outside Amazon. Cool stuff like “order me car” and Echo knowing it means schedule an Uber not buying a car from Amazon website. Apple even beat Amazon to market with Siri as first mover but decided to keep their platform closed.

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