A complex and interesting situation to consider, does a home device fit into Apple’s portfolio of products? Or is it just a waste of time when other devices including Amazon Echo and Google Home have already captured users in the growing market of AI home devices.
“We can’t wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple’s breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers,” Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said. “We’ll start shipping in the US, UK, and Australia in early 2018.” The aesthetically pleasing dome-shaped mesh look device has integrated touch controls that also shows the Siri waves when voice control is active, revolutionary or basic compared to what is already out on the market?
Amazon’s Echo was released over two years ago, powered by ‘Alexa’ it can perform thousands of ‘skills’ through voice-activated apps that let users control appliances, play music from Spotify or Bluetooth and radio, read books from Audible and Kindle, set kitchen timers and read recipes, order food and order products from Amazon to name a few. Meanwhile, playing music through Apple music, controlling Apple streamlined appliances and communicating messages through iPhone sand basic Siri commands are some of the functions offered by Apple Homepod. The Homepod can be considered basically a supplement to the iPhone, just an additional accessory whereas the Echo is truly a standalone product that does not rely on a phone to function. Homepod’s functions are conducted using apps on the iPhone whereas Echo uses its own cloud-based operating system.
However, it seems like Apple has positioned the Homepod as a more of a speaker than a personal assistant, but if you’re paying that much for a speaker you’d expect it to be able to order you a pizza. Apple will be competing on superior sound quality rather than home functionality and could ultimately add features to improve function capacity, but Amazon is far ahead with a device that already satisfies many users, with over 15 million units sold since launch in 2015, and a strong flagship product with improved sound quality and unmatched diverse functions and affordable price-point entrenching its position as a prominent market player.