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Apple's new speaker wants to rock the market

12 Juin 2017

Meanwhile, the Google Home, unsurprisingly, is great for Googling things.

How will Apple compete with Google and Amazon? With Apple's virtual voice assistant Siri built into it, this smart speaker for homes is in direct competition with voice-activated speakers such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Sound-wise, HomePod bests both the Echo and the Home, which makes it a good choice if you want a high-end speaker in addition to a voice assistant.

Apple is marketing the HomePod as a much higher quality speaker - and it is.

At $349, HomePod is much more expensive than the standard version of Amazon Echo at $180 and Google Home at $129. While many experts believe that Amazon's product is now stronger than Apple's (especially its activation command) and more competitively priced, it may not take long for Apple to add features and improve its Home Pod. To believe in HomePod is to believe in the market for home audio and to believe in Apple's ability to execute a product-first strategy.

Play music from Apple Music, to begin with. HomePod, Apple Music and Siri deliver the best music experience in the home that streams ad-free directly to HomePod. It can be used alone or wirelessly synced up with other speakers, and it has built-in Siri for answering questions and taking commands. It's likely to be the more powerful than both Amazon Echo and Google Home, but in terms of features, productivity and support, both Echo and Home will give a hard time to HomePod. It recently showed off Echo Look, a $199 Alexa-based device with a camera that can provide fashion assistance. By adding anticipatory computer features, opening it up further to developers with a year two SiriKit and creating a Siri face for Apple Watch, the company finally feels they have a virtual assistant on par with Google Assistant. CEO Tim Cook's vow to "reinvent home music" makes sense given the HomePod's intended use case, but these words could just as easily have appeared in Sonos's 2013 advertising campaign to "fill your home with music" or its more recent campaign about fixing "the silent home".

Speaking of the limited and delayed access of Siri, a developer Brian Roemmele, who attended WWDC said, "People went from being happy and excited to sitting in workshops and realising, I can't use it".

You may already be familiar with one or more of Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa, the smart assistants that power these speakers. That's twice the cost of the Echo and nearly three times the price of Google Home. In the Multiroom wireless speakers market, Sonos Play 1 retails for $199, Bose SoundTouch 10 sells for $199.95, and Sonos Play 5 retails for $499. The Echo can support multiple users as well, but you need to manually switch accounts by name, at least for now - the speaker can't identify people from their voices.

XAutoplay: On | OffApple (AAPL) bears this week knocked the company's HomePod smart speaker for being late to market, a copycat product and a sign that Apple lacks innovation.

Tech reviewers, analysts, and Apple fans have started falling heads over heels in love with the HomePod.

Apple explains it as "Apple-Designed Home Music Speaker with Amazing Sound Quality and Intelligence".

I wasn't expecting Apple to come out of the gate with support for Amazon or Spotify music streaming, but I certainly was hopeful, especially after the company announced, in the same presentation, support for Amazon Video on Apple TV.

Apple's new speaker wants to rock the market