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etvfutures.com September 21, 2017


Apple HomePod: Smart Speaker With Hi-Fi Ambitions?

16 June 2017, 05:30 | Brandon Parsons

So now, we'll have to wait for Part 2 of this "series" - HomePod announcements at the September unveiling of iPhone 8 or whatever Apple plans to call it. Let's hope they haven't made the wrong decision by showcasing the mere shell of the HomePod - to 5,000 developers, no less.

The resulting experience was hugely impressive - paired HomePods work together to fire balanced audio out into the room, having first detected each other's presence. It will also be able to check and control home devices such as light bulbs and thermostats, adjusting settings on voice command from the user. While Amazon Echo and Google Home began stealing some market share from the Santa Barbara-based speaker company, Sonos prided itself on the excellent audio engineering that went into its speakers as well as the fact it played nicely with nearly every streaming music service out there.

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".

"It's the biggest brain inside a speaker", Apple marketing head Phil Schiller proclaimed. Well Apple promises more than just a smart assistant speaker but a piece of equipment that can compete with Sonos and other high-quality sound boxes.

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.

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And that might be good news for both Apple and Amazon. It's easy to see why Apple is leading with the speaker bit here.

Apple on Monday fired a shot over Amazon's smart home bow, but the e-commerce giant might not think it matters. Siri is definitely not as sophisticated as Alexa, which allows the user many more functionalities such as ordering a pizza from Dominos.

Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Echo smart home speaker device now dominates the global intelligent home speaker market.

While Apple (aapl) didn't mention any competitors by name during the event, the company's HomePod has features that are strikingly similar to Amazon's Echo, another smart home hub that has built-in speakers, is powered by a virtual assistant named Alexa, and can help users power the smart home. The chip does all the fancy audio engineering - real-time acoustic modeling, audio beam forming and echo cancellation. However, design is not why you're buying it for. As a commerce platform, Amazon's path to profitability is more about the products it sells through Alexa than the Alexa products themselves. It's now the leader in this area with more than 10,000 third-party voice apps called "skills". Will Apple offer different pre-sets, so different listeners can find the setting that sounds right for them?



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