Since Apple unveiled the HomePod just over two weeks ago, there has been a lot of buzz as to how it will stack up against the smart home assistants by Amazon and Google that have heretofore been dominating the marketplace.
Between the price tag, the aesthetics, and the set of skills Apple is promising, folks have been trying to reconcile some pretty fundamental deviations from the smart home hegemony.
But, it seems, Apple isn’t trying to fit the mold – at least not for now.
Audio Above All Else
With a focus on audio quality above all else, the inventors of the iPod are again promising to deliver a specialized device that does a few things and does them better. And offering smart technology that recognizes the shape of a room and automatically optimizes sound, along with speakers that blow the competition out of the water, Apple is letting consumers know what it thinks is a priority.
Looking back to the early millennium and the music player which launched Apple towards today’s ubiquity, one can see that the company has continuously branded itself as a purveyor of premium products. The iPod Shuffle came out to the relief of the cash-strapped crowd, but only well after the iPod was well-established – and even then, the Shuffle was short-lived.
What distinguished the iPod from now-extinct products like the Zune was that it promised something better, something more, heck – it even felt heftier in your hand. That’s not to say that the Amazon Echo is going the way of the dodo anytime soon – in fact, Apple has an uphill battle ahead of it. But not confronting the products currently dominating the smart home market is without a doubt a matter of intention.
High Standards for an Even Higher Price
The most obvious iteration of this is sitting right up front – the price point. It’s the first thing you see, and right away customers notice that at $350 the HomePod is nearly twice the price of the Echo, and almost three times that of Google’s Home, which rings in at around $120.
But Apple clearly isn’t worried that this will be a problem – after all, users have historically paid more for Apple products. In fact, the Amazon Echo Dot, an add-on product designed to augment speakers with Alexa capabilities, looks downright cheap compared to the HomePod. Amazon is practically giving them away.
So what is Apple promising for all this? A more streamlined experience, it seems. While the HomePod can answer questions, tell you about the weather and traffic, and other such things that smart home assistants do, it is also taking a much more hands-off approach compared to its rivals.
The price says that Apple isn’t looking for consumers to place a HomePod in every room of the house, unlike its rivals – something that might be a bit of a comfort when juxtaposed with the always-listening Echo. That device is so invasive it’s even been subpoenaed by law enforcement to provide recordings of crime scenes.
But what people might not be taking into account is the fact that Apple is likely playing its cards close to its vest at this point. In terms of connectivity, Siri is already all over – and is it any coincidence that iPhone and iPad users were significantly more likely to go for the HomePod over the competition?
This is, after all, just the first-gen release of the HomePod. It’s interesting to imagine how the product might evolve further on down the line, and how Apple will make use of the synergy between other platforms that utilize Siri.
Other Smart Home Assistant Options
If you would like to try out a smart assistant in your home today, we offer a free in-home demo for Google Home. Like the HomePod, Google Home is the perfect smart home device, that instantaneously answers any question and helps assist you in daily tasks.
Our free in-home demo is perfect if you are not in the mood to set up the device and don't want to fumble around with all the different features and options. Our Puls expert technician will optimize your experience for you, so you don’t have to go through the hassle. Click here to schedule a free demo today!