The headline announcement from Apple's WWDC conference was the much rumoured smart speaker, one that we now know is called HomePod. Here we pit the three devices against each other in all the key categories.
Apple has made a decision to go for the high end of the market, and is positioning HomePod more as a luxury speaker than a hands-free assistant. Amazon's smaller Dot speakers go for just $49. Last month, TechCrunch documented, Google Assistant landed on the Apple devices as well.
Apple has introduced the HomePod, a voice-controlled speaker that will help carry out small tasks for the user such as turning on the light or increasing the temperature. Not as good as, but not as bad as a cheap Bluetooth speaker either.
What remains unknown about HomePod is just how well Siri works within the speaker - it is still yet to be shown off within HomePod. However, it is not without competition, there is also Amazon Echo and Google Home which we have written about here.
What do you think needs to be done with Apple Siri? Six microphones mean Siri can understand speech from a variety of distances.
On the Amazon Echo, conversations with Alexa are also encrypted in transit and at rest from your device to Amazon's cloud servers and "securely stored", a spokeswoman said in an email. Music playback is what matters to most consumers more right now than the speaker's ability to tell why dinosaurs died. Plus, Alexa has the disadvantage of not being able to collect information about you from either Android or iOS.
In demos at its World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco on Monday, the company highlighted how users can ask the speaker to identify the song being played, or even the drummer in the respective band. The primary work for the HomePod, as Apple says, is playing music in a way that is better than how others do it.
There's plenty of talk about pitting the features, pricing, and specs of Apple HomePod, Amazon Echo, and Google Home against one another. Daryanani said Apple may also announce an iPad Pro with a faster processor in an attempt to revive its long-slumping tablet sales.
However, Adam Scott from comparison service PriceSpy said Apple's "late" arrival to the smart speaker market could prove an advantage.
However, a recent statement from an Amazon exec holds that the HomePod is not such a big threat to the Echo family, as the products are "different philosophically" and should appeal to different tastes and needs. I'm not convinced there are that many households that want to splurge for $350 speakers in every room-and those that exist probably already have Sonos systems. Would you do us a favor?
It's hard to say without hearing it for ourselves, but from first impressions it seems that Apple's new HomePod is going to be the best-sounding speaker yet. The product will launch in the US, UK and Australia in December 2017 and in other markets in 2018. Meanwhile, the Google Home, unsurprisingly, is great for Googling things.
To start, with a retail price at $350, it suffers one of the same issues that Neil Young's Pono had: it's too darned expensive for what you theoretically get, compared to Sonos, Amazon or Google.