Apple takes on Google and Amazon with release of Siri

Claudine Rigal
Juin 12, 2017

Apple is only making its Siri-controlled HomePod smart speaker available sometime in December 2017, so why did they showcase the device this early?

According to the company, the Siri-powered smart speaker is created to "reinvent home music", much in the way that the iPod did for portable music.

As artificial intelligence advances, voice-activated digital assistants are quickly becoming the next frontier in consumer technology.

Possibly the best part is its spatial awareness, allowing it to scan the room and deliver the best audio quality based on the acoustics in its environment.

In fact, the AI assistant can learn a user's preference when they tell it, "Hey Siri, I like this song". You can control the speaker with Siri by telling it what to play, marking favorites, and even asking it detailed questions about the music that's playing.

Google's Assistant software is also able to answer follow-up questions on the same topic, in a near-conversation style, but Echo as yet can not. Meanwhile, Apple's HomePod only has HomeKit announced up to now.

With that in mind, we've put together a quick overview of how the major smart speakers now compare. You've probably heard about talking speakers, but perhaps you've wondered how they work and what they mean for your privacy. "They moved on to developing for Google and Alexa".

However, in Siri's current state, it just can't hold a candle to its competitors.

To be fair, having a dedicated Siri feature on the HomePod might probably be a foundation for upcoming AI-focused features.

On the other hand, the HomePod is most likely going to add more music streaming platforms through its newly introduced AirPlay 2 feature. Siri can do the usual smart assistant tasks, but the device's music commands are designed specifically to work with a $10 monthly Apple Music subscription. For the record, the others support Spotify, Pandora, and other popular music streams.

The HomePod speaker pricing starts at around $349. Short answer is kind of.

While Apple (aapl) didn't mention any competitors by name during the event, the company's HomePod has features that are strikingly similar to Amazon's Echo, another smart home hub that has built-in speakers, is powered by a virtual assistant named Alexa, and can help users power the smart home.

"Microsoft, like these other companies, would like to be that central operating system in your life, be it in the vehicle, be it on your phone, on a mobile device, or in the home", said David Watkins, who researches connected home devices as a director with technology advisory firm Strategy Analytics.

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