HomePod vs. Google Home vs. Amazon Echo

HomePod vs. Google Home vs. Amazon Echo”

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.

With so many low-cost Bluetooth speakers already on the market, I think Apple might have a hard time carving out a niche. Apple announced this $350 smart speaker at WWDC to go up against Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Sonos Play 3.

There are spec differences too: HomePod features 7 tweeters, a 4-inch woofer, a 6-microphone array and an Apple A8 chip processor, while Echo features a 2.0-inch tweeter, a 2.5-inch woofer, a 7-microphone array and a Texas Instruments processor. That is $120 more than the brand new Amazon Echo Show with monitor, and $170 more than the regular Amazon Echo.

How does it line up?

Despite the company's insistence that HomePod will sound incredible, it all feels like too little too late to take on the growing smart speaker market. The size of the unit is 172 x 142 mm at a weight of 5.5 lbs. Still, Apple says the primary focus of HomePod will be music, not home shopping, differentiating it somewhat from the Amazon Echo device.

Streaming - Both Google Home and Echo supports direct Bluetooth Streaming and on-device Wi-Fi streaming (Plus, Chromecast streaming for Google Home).

Apple HomePod quite expensive than the other two - and that too by a fair margin.

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.

Unsurprisingly, it also far outstripped an Amazon Echo for sound quality - but both that device and the Google Home are more geared towards AI than sound quality. As The New York Times noted, this year's conference was particularly heavy on Apple hardware announcements, but nonetheless there were some exciting updates for Apple's software products. That means no support for Spotify, Pandora, SoundCloud, Prime Music, etc. Tell them to play a song, and you'll hear music played through their respective music services.

While future versions of the HomePod may indeed place it more firmly in competition with other smart speakers, it's simply not the case now. While Amazon Echo has the first mover's advantage and is priced much lower compared to Apple's Home Pod ($180 vs $349), consumers looking for advanced features and better sound quality may prefer the latter. So if you go for an Apple HomePod, you will need to first have HomeKit enabled accessories. HomePod will probably sell in acceptable numbers to people who are already deep into the Apple rabbit hole.

What's the verdict then? One element he's curious to see how Apple handles is the very particular consumer preferences around speakers and sound quality.

Amazon created the smart speaker market in 2014 with the release of the Echo. And, with HomeKit integration similar to what's available on the iPhone, the user can ask Siri, via their HomePod to control connected devices in their home.

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