Tim Cook: Apple's HomePod has an 'audio' advantage vs Google Home or Amazon Echo

Apple unveiled the launch date  of its awaited HomePod speaker yesterday, and it is a sumptuous $350 affair, replete with no less than 7 tweeters, an woofer, and Siri integration that gives it the smarts to answer all of your pressing questions. 

Amazon has been doing this game with the Alexa-powered Echo line, and Google recently with its Home portfolio, though, and they have established a head start in the area that will be hard for Apple to catch up to, so what's in it for those who are firmly in the iOS camp? Well, according to Tim Cook, who sat down for an interview during his current tour in Canada, it's the sound. 

While we can't agree more, Siri is not on the level of Google's virtual Assistant, or Amazon's Alexa, but Tim Cook is optimistic that Apple can overcome its "smart" speaker limitations due to the sheer power of vertical integration it is capable of, fusing software and hardware seamlessly. Moreover, he is not convinced that Amazon and Google's business strategy to licence their assistants to various audio gear makers, is the best thing to do in the field.

As you can see from the infographic below, showcasing the current and prospective smart speakers' market share, as well as the main activities people are using them for, it's all Amazon and somewhat Google at the moment. A full 84% of Echo users, however, and 70% of Home owners, are mainly getting their speakers for listening to music (duh), followed by requesting info, controlling their smart home gadgetry, and ordering food. Apple's HomePod will likely excel at the first activity, and fare well in the others, so Tim Cook might have a point that it's not too late in the smart speaker game for Apple to tune in, what do you think?



1. cmdacos

Posts: 4248; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

'strongest glass ever on a smartphone' ...let's wait and see what real world testing says first...

3. duckofdeath unregistered

Haha, yeah. This is not the first time this guy has pre-hyped Apple products with lies. It's more of a rule than an exception.

19. sgodsell

Posts: 7419; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Has an audio advantage, really? Let's say it does. Does that mean all the other regular non smart speakers are no good now? If anyone has half a brain, then they could buy a wireless speaker at less than half the price of Apples homepod, then purchase an Amazon Echo dot or Google Home mini and still have a lot of money left over. Plus you would be getting a better smart speaker that doesn't rely on any smartphone, and can actually do a lot more than Apples homepod.

6. NickHill

Posts: 388; Member since: May 07, 2016

Glass is fragile and strongest doesn't mean unbreakable.

7. maherk

Posts: 6926; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Strongest glass should crack at best, not shatter and lose chunks of glass after getting dropped.

8. NickHill

Posts: 388; Member since: May 07, 2016

I repeat glass is fragile.

10. maherk

Posts: 6926; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I repeat, strongest glass should handle drops better than it's competition, not worse.

12. NickHill

Posts: 388; Member since: May 07, 2016

It is stronger than the competition, atleast youtube videos say so.

2. afrohoxha

Posts: 258; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Where are your clues that it might have an audio advantage besides Cook's claim?

4. surethom

Posts: 1712; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

What about the Sonos One & philips GA10 those are made for sound but still way cheaper than Home pod. Apple should for for $50 cheaper at least.

9. Whitedot

Posts: 823; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

"We think one thing that was missing from this market was a quality audio " And is this all Tim could offer? Is he trying to replace home audio system with HomePod? Obviously speakers are nice edition but I cannot justify whopping $350 price tag what is essentially just hand-free-assistant after all. PA "While we can't agree more...". I wonder how that dance looks like in reality.

11. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2427; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

To be fair, Amazon hasn’t exactly released a device in that price range to compete with the HomePod or the Google Home Max. The Echo Plus is the most expensive of the line at $150, which really doesn’t have much of an audio advantage over the $100 Echo (it’s just that price for the hub). So I would imagine a $350 and $400 would sound better than a $100 speaker. I have a feeling Amazon will introduce a product this year to compete in that space and I imagine would cost $300 or less.

13. jacksmith21006

Posts: 68; Member since: Nov 03, 2015

The Google Home Max has pretty good sound and then you know you get the best assistant. So it will be tall order for Apple to be able to compete. Will be interesting to hear the HomePod.

26. DnB925Art

Posts: 1168; Member since: May 23, 2013

I agree and add to that it uses AI to also adjust itself and fine-tune itself to the environment. Plus it can work in stereo out-of-the-box when stood vertically and paired with a 2nd Google Home Max, supports multi-room, can be grouped with other Homes/Maxes/Minis, plus it has casting support to cast to Chomecast Audio/Chromecast Video/Android TV devices, while the HomePod cannot even cast to any device let alone their own Apple TV. I have a Max, 3 regular Homes, 3 Minis and a Vizio Soundbar with Chromecast Audio built in and have various groups set up: Upstairs speakers, Downstairs speakers, and Whole house speakers. I can control multi-room and choose play to these areas and even play different things in one room while playing something else in another.

14. mootu

Posts: 1527; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

Tim Crook really does not get why Google & Amazon are licencing to other OEM's. They don't care about the hardware, it's just a means to an end, it's all about the data as thats where the big money is for Google & Amazon. They are not primeraly hardware manufacturers and large scale data collection is essential to their business models. They both just want their assistants on as many devices as possible.

16. midan

Posts: 2971; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

HomePod has very interesting speaker setup and tech inside, i'm really Interested to hear how it sounds, but propably won't buy one because i don't see use for these smart speakers

17. cmdacos

Posts: 4248; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

The reality is, if 84% of Echo users buy it for music (much higher than i thought the primary use case would be), the HomePods advantage of higher quality audio is not going to be a selling point for this audience as they are fine with the quality they have. Why pay 3 to 25 times more for an device with far more limiting options for audio play back AND be hampered with a handicapped virtual assistant?

18. mootu

Posts: 1527; Member since: Mar 16, 2017

I think it will still sell at a decent amount for Apple, there are plenty of users who are invested heavily into Apples ecosystem that would more than likely add in the Homepod.

20. xfire99

Posts: 1206; Member since: Mar 14, 2012

If want to listen to music with quality audio. You dont use a smart speaker for it. Mono audio isnt quality audio for music listening. As usual overhype whenever Apple release a new product and just fill it with lies. Im sure Tim Fool meant betweens smart speakers, which he didnt mentions to make peopels believe HomePod can compare with real audio system with floor stand speakers.

27. DnB925Art

Posts: 1168; Member since: May 23, 2013

Home Max does play in stereo (has 2 woofers and 2 tweeters) with smart capabilities.

21. Telemike

Posts: 43; Member since: Nov 30, 2012

Dead on Arrival

22. Telemike

Posts: 43; Member since: Nov 30, 2012

At best, they will get a small part of the market. Amazon is way too popular and cheaper for Apple to take over.

23. midan

Posts: 2971; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

You guys said exactly same thing when Apple watch came ;)

24. cmdacos

Posts: 4248; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Apple watch has advantages over the competition. Home pod primarily has only disadvantages.

25. midan

Posts: 2971; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Yes just like HomePod, huge potential userbase to buy one.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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