Apple's HomePod is expensive than Google and Amazon's smart speakers

This device is a smart speaker which is integrated with Apple's trademark artificial intelligence software, Siri. Porter shoppable app for Apple TV launched past year already offers something like that, and Amazon itself is already exploring the notion of special shoppable films to be made with major advertiser partners.

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This Is a Premium Product : The price of the HomePod, $349, may seem fairly affordable when compared to other Apple products, but at roughly double the price of the Amazon Echo and almost triple that of Google Home, this is a much higher priced than other smart speakers.

That was my quick takeaway after getting to hear a quick demo of Apple's new speaker in a controlled environment versus the $180 Amazon Echo and the $299 Sonos Play:3. HomePod will act as a HomeKit base, allowing users to control their homes from anywhere in the world, something now offered on select Apple TV and iPad models. Limp was quick to point out that you could get eight Echo Dots for the price of HomePod, and then connect the Echo Dots to any speaker with a line out connection or Bluetooth.

That's because Apple CEO Tim Cook stated that the service will not drop until "later this year".

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The HomePod isn't available until December in the US, so that could definitely mean a 2018 launch for South Africa. At the price of $349, it is quite an expensive device for just a speaker.

Amazon introduced the Echo home speaker three years ago, while Google followed with the Home device in 2016.

The HomePod will use its internal microphones to pick up voice commands and uses the same processor chip as the iPhone to pump out "spatially aware" sound, Apple said.

Where does this position Apple relative to Amazon and the Echo?

And Apple Watch is bringing Siri front and center. Besides playing music, Apple's Siri digital assistant will also respond to requests for information and other help around the house. That's fair, given that you can use Siri to control certain smart home gadgets, tell you random info, and control your music. "It can't afford to yield valuable real-estate in the heart of people's homes to Amazon, Google and others as access to content, information and search becomes pervasive and less dependent on the smartphone".

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But it's also possible that the HomePod could expose Siri as less capable than Amazon's Alexa, Google's Assistant and Microsoft's Cortana, Blaber said.

"We are already thinking about it", said one media executive speaking on condition of anonymity.

Apple had plenty of other announcements. New iMacs and MacBook laptops start shipping Monday. This effectively makes the new Apple speaker system a competitor to existing technology produced by the likes of Sonos. It will not actually block ads, though.

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While Amazon Prime Video has never been included on Apple TV, the dispute has been more than a one-way affair.

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New features coming to iPhones and iPads, meanwhile, include marginal improvements such as syncing messages to Apple servers in the cloud, saving storage space on phones and tablets. Like Apple TV, the HomePod allows for remote access to any HomeKit compatible device through the Home app.

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