Apple HomePod can be seen as Apple’s answer to the Amazon Echo and Google Home. When Apple announced its intelligent Siri-powered wireless speaker the HomePod at WWDC, it pointed out how good quality wireless speakers are not smart, and smart speakers compromise on audio experience, but HomePod is here to reinvent music for home.
Apple is touting the HomePod as an audio powerhouse with sound “free of distortion.” While making the announcement too, it pointed out about missing quality audio experience in smart speakers, and rightly so, because no other smart speaker company talks about the audio experience.
So when it comes to sound, Apple’s HomePod features 7 beam-forming tweeter array with directional control and one 4-inch upward facing woofer.
Google says ‘Home’ is an integrated high-excursion speaker that delivers crystal-clear highs and rich bass with 2-inch driver and dual 2-inch passive radiators.
For Echo, Amazon says it’s the “hands-free Alexa-enabled speaker that fills any room with immersive 360° audio.” It features a 2.5-inch woofer and a 2.0-inch tweeter inside.
The Brain inside
Apple HomePod uses the brain of an iPhone with Apple A8 Chip. The Google Home, on the other hand, is a is essentially a Chromecast wrapped around in a plastic body with microphone and speakers. It uses same ARM processor and Wi-Fi chip as the Google Chromecast. Amazon Echo uses Texas Instruments DM3725CUS100 Digital Media Processor with 256MB RAM from Samsung and 4GB iNand Flash memory from SanDisk.
Apple HomePod smart speaker uses its proactive, always listening Digital Assistant ‘Siri’, just like Google Home and Amazon Echo. The voice assistants in speaker work as a tool to execute user commands and queries. It uses six microphones and works on your voice command “Hey Siri”. We are familiar with Siri’s functionality and Apple says that it can practically get out anything you need apart from managing your connected home devices.
Google Home is powered by Google Assistant, which just like any Android smartphone takes the ‘Okay Google’ command to activate and respond to your voice queries. Google recently at its Keynote announced a bunch of new features for its Google Home. It will be receiving the “proactive assistance”, means it will prompt you about traffic alerts or a meeting depending on your calendar or schedule.
On the Other hand, Amazon uses its own ‘Alexa’ assistant to power the Echo speakers. Just like all other voice assistants, it can also get notifications, make calls, manage contacts, view your conversation history etc.
Apple HomePod to start with, integrates Apple music subscription. Apple during the launch had said that HomePod from the beginning is designed to work with Apple Music, making us think whether or not it will support third-party music services later. Anyway, HomePod can stream from a rich library of Apple Music from the cloud directly. Apple says that it has 40 million songs, 2 million artists and tens of thousands of playlists up in its Apple Music library.
Talking about Home, Google not just integrates Play Music, YouTube to it but also offers quite a few third-party music services like Spotify, Pandora and more. Similarly, with Alexa App in Amazon Echo, you can connect to services you already use like Spotify, Pandora etc.
Apple on stage showcased video demo of two connected HomePods. The company says these can automatically work together to deliver incredible spacious sound.
Google also allows you to enjoy the multi-room audio experience by connecting multiple Home speakers together, but unfortunately, Amazon, on the other hand, notes that “you cannot connect multiple Alexa devices to each other and play the same requested audio at the same time.”