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?
Source: HomePod: Apple’s Smart Speaker Differs From Amazon And Google With Focus On Sound Quality
Source: Apple iPad in Steep Decline as New Tablet Surfaces | Fortune.com
It is interesting to see the decline of Apple’s iPad business. Total worldwide tablet shipment has also fallen significantly last year. In the first quarter of 2016, only 52.9 million tablets were shipped worldwide. That is down more than 20% compared to the same period in 2015.
Is this the end of tablets? I am not so sure. I think the replacement cycle of tablets may just be longer than most people expect. My 3 year old Nexus tablet from Asus still runs well, though I decided to upgrade to an iPad Air a couple of months ago. Would I upgrade to a two-in-one hybrid notebook with touchscreen? I doubt so, I am still very much a laptop and tablet user. I develop web sites and do all my accounting work on laptops and use my tablet for web browsing, casual gaming and occasionally for streaming video. Would I embrace a two-in-one for both types of work? At this time, I don’t think so. Time will tell if the two-in-ones will become mainstream 🙂
My fitbit #Fitstats for 11/15/2014: 12,151 steps and 5.3 miles traveled. http://www.fitbit.com/user/2YB778
My fitbit #Fitstats for 11/14/2014: 9,706 steps and 4.3 miles traveled. http://www.fitbit.com/user/2YB778
My fitbit #Fitstats for 11/13/2014: 12,000 steps and 5.3 miles traveled. http://www.fitbit.com/user/2YB778
My fitbit #Fitstats for 11/12/2014: 11,394 steps and 5 miles traveled. http://www.fitbit.com/user/2YB778
My fitbit #Fitstats for 11/11/2014: 11,771 steps and 5.2 miles traveled. http://www.fitbit.com/user/2YB778