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How Apple's HomePod smart speaker compares to Amazon Echo and Google Home

14 Juin 2017

Apple have announced their new HomePod smart speaker.

Phil Schiller, Apple's SVP of worldwide marketing, said on stage that the product has been in the works for "years". Amazon's senior VP of devices David Limp explained that he believes Alexa and Siri should be able to communicate with one another, while also pointing to the HomePod's price as an advantage for Amazon...

A key issue for any manufacturer of a voice-activated smart device, Apple states "security and privacy are fundamental" to the design of HomePod, as with other Apple products. "Apple will carve out some sales in the smart speaker market with HomePod but will continue to stand far behind Amazon and Google by the end of 2017", Ronan de Renesse, of the analysis firm Ovum, said in an email.

Apple HomePod will be available starting in December, initially in Australia, the United Kingdom and the U.S. - potentially to be followed by other countries in 2018.

Both Amazon Echo and Google Home has ambient LED notification lights atop, which will give you a lighting up for some quick flicker.

Apple is betting that some customers will pay a premium for higher sound quality. This is the only big announcement by Apple since the launch of its Apple Watch sometime back in September 2014.

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HomePod is created to be the user's personal "musicologist", says Apple, learning personal preferences and tastes based on genres, moods and playlists.

Amazon's existing speakers have also already been popular with consumers since the Echo launched in the United Kingdom in 2016. (GOOGL) (GOOGL), with its Google Home product, and Amazon Inc.'s (AMZN) Amazon Echo.

The HomePod will work with HomeKit as well, which is Apple's smart home platform. The top of the HomePod is also touch-sensitive for controlling volume and pausing.

"This is a smart move because Siri is not that bright and is easily outperformed by Google Assistant while being on a par with Amazon's Alexa". Dubbed the HomePod, it's a Siri-powered speaker that will try to outshine its competitors in terms of audio quality. Commands are picked up by an array of six microphones with echo cancellation allowing HomePod to pick up information when loud music is being played.

The two speakers also have other functionalities aside from playing music.

Speaking of the limited and delayed access of Siri, a developer Brian Roemmele, who attended WWDC said, "People went from being happy and excited to sitting in workshops and realising, I can't use it". With its seven tweeters and one woofer, the Apple HomePod should theoretically sound better and so justify its price tag. The speakers from both Amazon and Google support a growing number of third-party smart home devices too. Though, questions still remain surrounding the HomePod's ability to play nicely (or not nicely at all) with music services other than Apple Music, which could make or break the decision for a large chunk of consumers considering the HomePod.