Is Apple's new HomePod a true Sonos competitor?

Posted June 13, 2017

The HomePod is also tied in to the Apple Homekit, so you can talk to the speaker to interact with other HomeKit accessories. I think when people listen to it, they are going to be shocked over the quality of the sound. The other smart speakers support their own company's music streaming services, as well as independent ones like Spotify and Pandora. Apple was nearly sheepish in mentioning that, yes, Siri on the HomePod can do most of the usual Siri things like make appointments, find sports scores, and send messages.

Siri will be integrated into the $349 (€310) speaker and can make music recommendations that pair Apple Music, send text messages, check news and sports scores and control compatible home gadgets like lightbulbs and thermostats. However, Siri has been slow to improve its voice-recognition technology and set of responses, especially compared with the more capable Alexa and Google Assistant.

Apple wants the HomePod to be hard to classify. Six months is a lifetime in the world of devices, so will the HomePod actually look the same when it's finally available to buy later this year?

However, the way Apple presented the device - emphasizing the music experience it can deliver - it sort of feels like Siri is more or less an add-on for a listening device, much so for the HomeKit part.

Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing said, "Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes". The Echo helps Amazon sell Amazon Prime subscriptions and other digital content while Google aims to lure customers into its services that support its advertising revenue.

HomePod costs significantly more than Amazon Echo. Dubbed the HomePod, it's a Siri-powered speaker that will try to outshine its competitors in terms of audio quality. While he didn't discuss exactly how the devices differ, he told USA Today that the HomePod's $349 price tag makes it substantially more expensive than his company's alternatives, including the popular Amazon Echo.

Will Apple topple the market? As mentioned above, Apple's new HomePod will use a large Apple-designed woofer and a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters which in comparison to Sonos who use one tweeter and two mid-woofers on their Sonos Play:3 isn't that bad.

How will Apple compete with Google and Amazon? But this year, Apple took the opportunity to announce not just a smart speaker, but also a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, a professional-centric iMac Pro all-in-one desktop computer, as well as updated versions of the iMac and MacBook Pro computers.

While they might now be seen as rivals, Amazon and Apple's smart assistants could soon work together, according to a senior executive from Amazon.