This is how smart home devices like the Apple HomePod work

  • This is how smart home devices like the Apple HomePod work

This is how smart home devices like the Apple HomePod work

As Apple put it onstage, its goal is nothing less than building a speaker that will "reinvent home music" in the same way that the iPod did for portable music so many years ago. The move is one of the first significant forays by Apple in the voice-technology, since the time it launched Siri way back in 2011.

As for how this works in the real-world, you can use the Apple HomePod, Amazon Echo, and Google Home for nearly the same things. In addition, the HomePod comes with six microphones to enable it to effectively hear and respond to commands.

Apple and Amazon's virtual assistants, Siri and Alexa, could work together in the future, David Limp, Amazon's senior vice president of devices, suggested recently.

These were flashy demonstrations created to prove the possibilities of AR, but if Apple's AR toolkit for developers is as easy to implement as Apple suggests, iOS could quickly become the platform for augmented reality.

But although Apple's HomePod most certainly has its shortcomings and is quite late to the voice-first assistant game, it is nonetheless true to Apple's philosophy - it is just another piece of a simple, seamless, and interconnected system. Granted, the other two are much smaller in size than the HomePod and naturally would weigh less. Amazon's and Google's extensive lists of supported third-party platforms have Apple beat by a mile.

Apple and Amazon are fierce competitors, especially now that the iPhone maker has released its own home speaker.

What many people forget about Siri is that it was a completely functional voice assistant app that was acquired by Apple in 2010. Furthermore, Apple stresses too much on privacy, and is not so big on using user's data too much.

HomePod is definitely bigger than Google Home or Amazon Echo.                  James Martin  CNET
HomePod is definitely bigger than Google Home or Amazon Echo. James Martin CNET

Aside from its power cable, the HomePod is a wireless device that can connect to networks over 802.11ac WiFi. When tech critics analyzed the speaker from all angles, they came across the observation that the piece of technology had a number of drawbacks. HomePod is great for HomeKit, serving as a payoff for anyone who's been investing in Apple's approved smart home gear, allowing hardware developers to deeply tie their products to Siri.

Beyond this, the WSJ reports that Apple was "caught off guard" by the Amazon Echo (as was Google).

10 of 12What's With the Top Pad? Apple had announced that since the inception of Apple Music, it has 27 million users. Yet, we don't know whether it will support third party services such as Spotify.

Sonos has also demonstrated the ability to play well with others. The Google Home can tell different voices apart and ties in with the company's many helpful online services, like translation.

"Despite being acoustically better, it was only marginal, while the price was significantly higher", says O'Brien. While he didn't discuss exactly how the devices differ, he told USA Today that the HomePod's $349 price tag makes it substantially more expensive than his company's alternatives, including the popular Amazon Echo.

The way Apple has differentiated itself is by turning the smart speaker on its head. The comparison to the Echo was even more stark, with Amazon's speaker sounding about as good as audio leaking from a nearby commuter's headphones.