HomePod Is Apples Unimaginative Answer To Google Home And Amazon Echo

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The HomePod speaker is photographed in a a showroom during an announcement of new products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Monday in San Jose, Calif.

Schiller had much less to say about HomePod's broader Siri smarts, although the product page on Apple's website hints that it can perform numerous smart home tasks that an Amazon Echo or Google Home can do.

Apple's SVP of Global Marketing Phil Schiller said Sonos aren't smart speakers and Amazon Echos aren't good speakers.

Analysts said Apple is playing to its strength in the music industry by focusing on sound quality and its catalog of songs available on HomePod. The HomePod is not expected to ship until December 2017, and it will cost $349, that is almost twice as the Echo ($179) and Google Home ($129) and is expensive.

The 7-inch device is the company's answer to the likes of Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

Given that in recent quarters, Apple has struggled with tepid iPhone sales, it may be hoping that the HomePod will help fuel its revenue growth. In fact, Sonos' line of multiroom speakers is so sleek and functional that many suggested in the past that the company might be an acquisition target for Apple.

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There are only a few such smart speakers now that adjust the sound output based on their presence and the number of speakers in the same room. Other services like Pandora and Spotify can be played through Apple's AirPlay system, however this still a detriment compared to the direct streaming from virtually every music service offered by the HomePod's competitors.

The HomePod will work with HomeKit as well, which is Apple's smart home platform. It's reportedly powered by an Apple A8 chip, which makes it better sounding than the Amazon Echo or the Google Home. Users can also ask the HomePod to read them the latest news, play podcasts, set reminders.

HomePod will be available for $349 (US) in white and space gray.

A new iMac Pro is on the way too.

Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has stressed the importance of Apple's services business, predicting it will double in size by 2021. Spending on smart home related hardware, services and installation fees will reach US$155 billion by 2022, up from nearly US$90 billion this year, with devices accounting for about half of that, the consulting firm also estimates.

Recently, Apple has launched a new iOS update that will be compatible to all Apple devices.

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