What Apple’s HomePod Isn’t

Apple’s HomePod is available for preorder now and will be shipping and available in stores on Friday, February 9th.  Apple Music, home control, smarts and more are what this speaker aim to give customers.


Background

At WWDC 2017 HomePod was announced and touted to be a revolutionary speaker, that aims to use a seven tweeter beam-forming array, 6 microphones, Apple’s own A8 chip and a top loaded woofer to deliver an unmatched musical experience.  Originally, the device was slated to ship at the end of 2017 and got moved, as Apple products other than iPhone, do to a later time.

That time is now.

Source: Apple

Out of the gate, Apple noted that this product is “speaker first”; however, you would interact with it through a voice layer — Siri.  Apple’s digital assistant has gotten a lot of well deserved hate over the years for simply lacking in substance when compared to Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.  Instantly, Apple is saying to not compare the HomePod to a Google Home or Amazon Echo product, not because they necessarily believe that their product will instantly be better — but because of what HomePod isn’t.  HomePod isn’t meant to be a smart speaker, it’s meant to be a revolutionary audio device that will fill any room with sound like it’s never been encompassed before.  It is not meant to knock your socks off by what Siri can do and in all honestly we know that at this point, Siri lacking in the “smarts” department is an understatement.

With that being said, “speaker first” continues to ring in my head — so what does that mean?  For the price of $349, I should expect to get a high-quality audio device that can rival the king of consumer home audio, Sonos, who is known for producing high-quality, high-fidelity speakers that you can stream audio to and HomePod is coming for the throne. On the other hand, regardless of how Apple positions this product, the majority of customers will look at this as a smart speaker, rightfully so — meaning that in 2018 it may be speaker first, but at some point, it’s going to need to flex those “smart” muscles.

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