Apple’s Siri-based home speaker, the HomePod made its debut at WWDC (Worldwide Developer Conference) in June 2017. The company back then promised the HomePod’s launch in December but it didn’t see the light. But Apple has now stated that the home assistant speaker will arrive on February 9 with pre-order commencing in the US, UK and Australia from January 26.
With the HomePod hitting the stores next month, it will soon enter the battle against Google and Amazon smart speakers. Apple is a little late to join the bandwagon but the company is quite confident that the integration between hardware and software will make this device unique.
Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook in an interview with Financial Post said, “Competition makes all of us better and I welcome it, (but) if you are both trying to license something and compete with your licensees, this is a difficult model and it remains to be seen if it can be successful or not.”
The 7-inch smart speaker is precisely built to deliver high quality audio. Cook in the interview said, “We think one thing that was missing from the market was a quality audio experience, a very immersive audio experience. Music deserves that kind of quality as opposed to some kind of squeaky sound.”
While all these look good on paper, Apple has missed a few ingredients on the new HomePod. The smart speaker works only with Apple Music meanwhile Google and Amazon smart speakers give an option to stream from a varied number of sources including Spotify, Amazon Music, Pandora, Google Play Music and more. Further, the HomePod is tagged at $349 which is pricey compared to the smart speakers already available in the market.
The built-in Siri support will leverage the HomePod’s experience providing news updates, send text messages, set reminders and more. Further with the voice-based assistant, the smart speaker will be able to control HomeKit connected devices (one good thing about it). But like we said, the HomePod is pretty expensive if you factor in speakers offered by other tech companies. Besides, Amazon and Google have multiple models (at least more than one each) on their shelves addressing different price brackets. But then that’s what Apple products are known for – sporting the most expensive price tags in the tech town, right?