Is it too late for Apple to jump in to the voice powered computing market? With a starting price of $349, it costs more than twice the Google Home and almost $169 more expensive than the Amazon Echo.
Several key questions come into mind. Will the HomePod do more than Google Home or Amazon Echo? Can it justify the premium with better audio quality or better user experience?
What is most interesting is the 6-microphone array built into the HomePod. Apple claims that it can pick up voice commands from across the room. Is it significantly better than the Amazon Echo with 6 microphones? What about the A8 processor that comes with the HomePod? It should be powerful enough to perform real-time acoustic modeling, audio beam forming and echo cancellation. Question is, will Siri be improved to match the intelligent assistants offered by Google or Amazon? Will the HomePod support other streaming audio services such as Spotify and Pandora?
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the HomePod is its tight integration with Apple music streaming service. This will certainly attract Apple users with strong ties to its platforms. Will users wait patiently for 6 months before they can get their hands on the HomePod?
The market for voice activated smart speakers will certainly be more crowded. As competition heats up, it will drive innovation and increase adoption. I guess I am on the fence on whether to wait for the HomePod or go with the Amazon Echo. What about you?