Published: Thu, June 08, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

How Does The Price Of Apple's New HomePod Compare To Its Peers?


Here's what you should know if you want to get your hands on Apple's new smart speaker system.

The new speaker that is dubbed HomePod, was launched on Monday in San Jose, California at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

You can also use Google Home to cast videos to a TV, either by using a Chromecast dongle or via a Chromecast-enabled TV, such as those from Sony and Vizio. Google's machine learning technology is only getting more advanced as time goes on, too. It also provides remote access and home automation through the Home App that will work on iPhone and iPad. Imagine games that sprawl over an otherwise empty table, or the chance to see how a new lamp looks in your bedroom.

This comes as competition increases, with devices such as Google's Chromebook and Microsoft's Surface eating into Apple's tablet market share. Siri has been integrated deeply into the HomePod, with the device allowing users to use voice to ask the speaker to perform a range of tasks from controlling their HomeKit connected home automation devices to playing a song or reading out the latest news. In the same way that Band-Aids are now more common on laptop cameras than on knees, can we expect these always-on assistants to be hidden under tea cosies by a population of conspiracy theorists? Still, Alexa had a much higher accuracy rating - 87 per cent - than Apple's assistant. Each of them differs with the core functionality but they are meant to serve the same goal.

This week, Apple introduced HomePod smart speakers at the WWDC. Framing the concept product as "Being able to rock the house, be spatially aware and become a musicologist and control your home", the device certainly seems to be capable of making good on those promises. "HomePod packs powerful speaker technology, Siri intelligence and wireless access to the entire Apple Music library into a attractive speaker that is less than 7 inches tall, can rock most any room with distortion free music and be a helpful assistant around your home". A larger problem for HomePod is also one of its headlining features: Siri.

But O'Donnell also expressed skepticism on Apple's ability to dominate this new segment. As The New York Times noted, this year's conference was particularly heavy on Apple hardware announcements, but nonetheless there were some exciting updates for Apple's software products.

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Today, if you want to experience cutting edge virtual reality, you'll probably buy a headset and a Windows PC.

Apple's entry into the market could change this.

To demonstrate, visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic created a simple virtual reality experience set in the Star Wars universe, running on a Mac. To show the tools off, Apple invited Wingnut AR, the company formed by "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson, on stage. So even though Apple TV will soon deliver Amazon content, it can't show it the way other devices can.

Last August, Backchannel editor Steven Levy wrote an article titled "The iBrain is Here, and It's Already Inside Your Phone". We should consider these smart speakers on par with the first iPod.

Unlike Google and Facebook, which spoke frequently about their efforts and made their tools freely available for developers to use, Apple was notoriously secretive.

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