Next week, Apple will embark on fixing what many tech writers have deemed as one of the company’s very few weaknesses.
Apple is one of the leading players, as well as early adopters, in the artificial intelligence and voice search realm with Siri. However, many analysts felt that their lack of a dynamic, smart home assistant has cost Apple serious market share.
This year, Amazon’s smart assistant, the Echo, was the top-selling product on Amazon.
While Apple has long been able to flex its market share muscles with the iPhone’s saturation, Amazon has the shoppers’ eyeballs and can propel almost any product it likes to a top-selling American product.
Likewise, Google controls the vast majority of all human curiosity with its search engine. Hence, they launched the Google Home smart assistant.
But what about Apple?
Apple is a cash-loaded machine, especially with the recent tax cuts and a long history of clever tax avoidance strategies.
They have committed to mass hiring in 2018 for Siri engineers, so it would only make sense that Apple would get their own smart assistant skin in the game.
On February 9th, Apple will be taking pre-orders for the Apple Homepod.
Wait, Apple Is Already A Voice Search Device
Allow me to clear up a little confusion in regards to why Apple has fallen a bit behind in the voice search market.
Apple is an artificial intelligence, early adopter when we consider the widely used Siri application.
Siri was fetching local search results when Amazon was reduced to pretending they were going to deliver your toilet paper by way of drones. I am not taking a pot shot at Amazon; I am just confirming that Apple is a big deal in the digital smart assistant world.
However, both Amazon and Google created hands-free devices, whereas with Amazon you need to activate the iPhone to access the Siri assistant application.
Google and Amazon have spared no pennies in advertising their extreme advantage over Apple in this arena, either. With the Amazon Echo a new top selling smart assistant, Apple is in a position the position of catching up, which is often a position that’s incredibly unique for them.
Originally, Apple was set to launch the HomePod last December, but delayed the product’s launch, saying, they “needed more time.”
Apple has now set February 9th as the hard date for pre-orders.
The HomePod Is Speaker First
Apple is definitely in need of market share in the smart personal assistant vertical.
The Apple HomePod is that obvious solution; it is odd that Apple is primarily marketing HomePod as a speaker system that works fluidly with your iTunes music library.
They tend to push down the artificial intelligence assistance aspect that the Amazon Echo and Google Home marketing tend to live on. This is either Apple’s way of carving out a deeper niche with its music loving fans, or, Apple does not feel that Siri’s strengths on the HomePod will be as competitive as its rivals’.
If you look closely at the below transparent image which Apple posted for their launch, you can also see that visually, Apple wants you to interpret HomePod as a music system beast. There are seven speaker amplifiers to gaze with amazement at.
If you love music, it is clear that Apple is appealing to you.
Additionally, Apple makes clear that their proprietary software can adjust the speaker system’s acoustics based on where you place the Homep\Pod.
Here’s an excerpt from Apple’s statement over the device.
It automatically analyzes the acoustics, adjusts the sound based on the speaker’s location, and separates the music into direct and ambient sound. Direct sound is beamed to the middle of the room, while ambient sound is diffused into left and right channels and bounced off the wall. So your music sounds amazing, wherever you are in the room.
Wait, why would Apple make such a big deal over acoustics adjusting due to placement?
Well, as it turns out, people often place their personal assistant devices against walls and in corners. This can affect the overall sound of the device, something that would be important to music lovers. Apple wanted to make a notation that they have adapted HomePod to sound amazing no matter where you place it.
Apple HomePod Requires iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad
If you are living in an anti-Apple world, you might be out of luck regarding using the HomePod.
It will activate simply, so long as you have an iPod Touch, iPad, or iPhone, but it will not work with any non-Apple technology.
Those who despise Apple despise them for precisely this reason already, so its unlikely that this caveat effects the HomePod’s bottom line.
Will it Recognize Your Voice?
The Apple HomePod will not be able to distinguish your voice from your significant other’s voice.
This may compromise personalizing the device at some level.
However, seeing that it will work from the setup of an iPhone, the device will be able to sense when the original iPhone that set it up is near.
What would this mean?
I imagine, for example, if you set the HomePod up using your iPhone, when the HomePod senses you are near, it could turn on Facebook or other personal notifications.
- Dimension – 172mm Height, 142mm Width
- Weight – 2.5Kg
- Colors Available – White and space gray
- Microphones – Six microphones around the HomePod
- Tweeters – 7 Tweeters
- Woofer – High-excursion woofer with Custom Amplifier
- Processor – Apple A8 Chip that used in Apple iPhone 5S
- Wireless Connectivity – WiFi with MIMO support, AirPlay 2 For Multi-Room Support
- Voice assistant – Siri
“It sounds fantastic, but Siri might have some catching up to do.” Engadget
“The HomePod is late to the game, but it does what Apple set out to do: offer a premium listening experience that combines very well with Siri.” TechRadar
At $349, the Apple HomePod is going to cost a pretty penny.
This is a huge negative factor seeing that so many consumers are inundated with inexpensive Amazon Echo devices everytime they log in and purchase toilet paper.
Conclusion, another player in the expanding Voice Search Market
Apple’s Siri is now more invested in the future of local voice search. At launch, the voice search capabilities are not a focus; this is a speaker. However, expect this to change over time with updates to the IOS.
The HomePod will be priced out of the competitions’ market, making it even more unlikely that it will take the nation by storm.
The HomePod is Apple and Apple has a legion of followers who love that their trusty products always fluidly function with all their devices.
Sales are going to be good with Apple diehards, but not great. Expect Apple to drastically increase the functionality and features of the HomePod over time. It lacks features such Bluetooth playback or the capability to interact with most services outside the Apple ecosystem.