Stop Comparing Apple's HomePod to Alexa and Google Home Right Now

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"People at Apple's anxiety level went up a notch", said a former member of Apple's Siri team. If not, many people will be better off combining their Sonos speakers with Amazon's cheap Echo Dot, as both companies are now working on Alexa integration for Sonos. Siri can be activated using the command "Hey, Siri". Though HomePod only supports Apple Music and nothing else.

However, the way Apple presented the device - emphasizing the music experience it can deliver - it sort of feels like Siri is more or less an add-on for a listening device, much so for the HomeKit part.

Third, Apple revealing the device several months ahead of the holiday season without the ability to pre-order looks too much like their hand has been forced by the popularity of Echo and Home devices. What sets it apart are its smarts; that puts it up against other "smart" speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

"It's the biggest brain inside a speaker", Apple marketing head Phil Schiller proclaimed. Do you like the idea that you could buy an Echo speaker that came with Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant? The HomePod is compatible with iDevices running on iOS 11 and iPhone 5s and above. Sonos also has ambitions on integrating with every intelligent voice assistant out there.

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Kevin Lynch, VP of Technology at Apple, speaks near a projection of an Apple Watch during the company's annual world wide developer conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, U.S. June 5, 2017.

The thing is, its goal seems to be unclear, whether it's going to go head-to-head with the current brood of smart assistants or target brands the likes of Sonos in the audio space - or perhaps both. The long and short of it then is that Apple HomePod is just that-it is a smart speaker with an assistant. This makes the HomePod considerably more expensive than the standard cost of an Echo or Google Home Device.

The company didn't confirm a specific date for the launch, but did announce that it would initially be available in the US, UK, and Australia, with more markets to follow in 2018. With a 4in subwoofer, seven tweeter array and some fancy real-time sound modelling, it certainly has the tools to trounce the Google Home and Amazon Echo family. In addition to playing music through iTunes, the device can provide news updates, help with math questions, send messages to friends, mark the calendar, translate certain terms, relay stock news, and even answer basic trivia questions.

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