Both Home and Echo are continually listening for commands, though Google and Amazon say nothing gets passed back to them until the speakers hear a keyword - "OK, Google" for Home and "Alexa" for Echo.
If you were paying attention to the start of Apple's developer conference on Monday, you'll have noticed that the tech giant launched a brand new product with an odd-sounding name:.
That might sound insane coming from a company that hasn't, until the launch of this product, given so much as a thought to the home speaker market, but the early returns on the HomePod's performance show that Apple (again, like they always do) isn't diving blindly into this market. But if that's a problem for you, the Echo or Home may be better smart speaker choices.
Want directions? They're coming from Apple Maps. Google then followed with the Google Home.
If you're streaming music to a speaker, you'll want to know about the compatible services.
Amazon Echo uses Microsoft's Bing search engine to provide additional information, while Google Home uses the company's own Google Search. It's easy to see why Apple is leading with the speaker bit here.
Play music from Apple Music, to begin with. What is that? It's Apple's approach to third-party support, right now, there isn't any.
Anyone who is busy cooking, holding kids or doing other tasks at home will benefit from a hands-free computer. Synced directly with Siri and Apple Music, the powerful speaker will play whatever it is told to play. Sadly, Apple HomePod will control the HomeKit-enabled lights and accessories and not others. However, design is not why you're buying it for.
Apple's WWDC keynote was packed full of big announcements yesterday. This makes the HomePod considerably more expensive than the standard cost of an Echo or Google Home Device. Amazon Echo, powered by smart assistant Alexa, is 9.3 inches tall and retails for $179.99.
Amazon's Echo is designed for flexibility.
Apple could eventually open the HomePod up to outside developers, much as it did the iPhone and, eventually, Apple TV.
There are spec differences too: HomePod features 7 tweeters, a 4-inch woofer, a 6-microphone array and an Apple A8 chip processor, while Echo features a 2.0-inch tweeter, a 2.5-inch woofer, a 7-microphone array and a Texas Instruments processor. Granted, the other two are much smaller in size than the HomePod and naturally would weigh less.
In another point of differentiation from its competition, the Apple HomePod seems to be only set up for Apple Music, according to The Verge.