HomePod is Apple's bet in the burgeoning market for smart home systems. And rightly so, as it's the start of a new journey for the company, into a yet relatively unknown marketplace. But the product seems directly inspired by existing smart speakers from Amazon and Google. So, take a seat, and be prepared to be informed. But I'm going to focus on just one here: what you can do with it. That's the question you should be asking yourself.
The tech giant confirmed the device would go on sale in December in the US, UK and Australia. Amazon Echo Vs Apple HomePod is a competition worth seeing, but I believe that Apple lags in this race big time.
On the other hand Amazon Echo and Google Home supports nearly all smart home integrations. Even though Apple, Amazon and Google encrypt the data, recordings are saved. The product is an initiative by Apple to expand into the $50 billion wireless smart speaker industry.
So is the HomePod a glorified smart speaker? Unfortunately, it does not have an assistant, so cannot be considered to be smart. While Apple was an early entry into voice assistants with the introduction of Siri in 2011, voice assistants from Amazon and Google have largely surpassed Apple with the launch of Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers.
How do they work? For now, however, the company appears to be more interested in offering a premium audio experience than it does putting Siri in as many homes as possible. Without such a connection, it's fair to say that all three would be nothing more than expensive speakers like thew Sonos. Some of the key features that will appeal to the home user are its ability to throw music recommendations based on Apple's Music service, text messaging, checking the news and sports scores etc. Better hope you're using Apple's calendar application. Tell them to turn off your lights, and they'll turn off if you have a smart lighting setup. Sonos also has ambitions on integrating with every intelligent voice assistant out there. Where Apple is really focusing on differentiating the HomePod is in pure audio quality.
Siri's delayed access to third party apps, and its limited accessibility is also a hindrance for Siri.
As it stands the Amazon Echo and other Echo-related devices are powered by Amazon's Alexa AI. You've probably heard about talking speakers, but perhaps you've wondered how they work and what they mean for your privacy. Right now, you need a fourth-generation Apple TV or an iPad resident in your house in order to schedule some HomeKit devices and control them all from outside your home. It will be a product that nobody wants.
So I wonder if Apple will be spending the next few months tweaking its audio algorithms.
As far as features go, it depends on what you're looking for.
In line with Apple's M.O. the HomePod tries to keep everything in the family which explains the lack of support for anything outside of Siri and Apple Music.