#Apple #HomePod – a cautious approach to #SmartHome #WWDC2017

A lot of articles have been posted after the WWDC2017 of Apple’s announcement to release the HomePod at for $349 (US) in white and space gray starting in December 2017 initially in Australia, the UK and the US.

homepod-white-shelf

Apple’s attempt to close the gap to Amazon Echo and Google Home

For me it is a first attempt from Apple to close the gap to Google home and Amazon Echo, differentiating with the value to combine speakers like Sonos with the market leader in voice Amazon Echo. Also refer to one of my previous posts: The hype of voice in 2017 still continues for #Amazon #Microsoft #Apple & #Google.

What is the value behind Apple HomePod?

The A8 chip processor is meant to be the brain behind the advanced audio performance. Having watched the keynote they haven’t shown the real value combined with Apple HomeKit, rather focussing on music in combination with the new AppStore as differentiation. Discussions with friends and colleagues address questions for Apple with enough time till launch in December to answer:

  • The price tag & main competitors: Is HomePod worth $349 US? 1.57 times the price of Sonos Play:1 $199 US? Are Amazon Echo speaker good enough, or would I rather use my highend speaker system instead?
  • Using Siri on multiple Apple devices like my Mac, iPhone or iPad, why should I use it with HomePod? How do I differentiate? What is the benefit? Which device responds “Hey Siri” having all in one room?
  • What is the value for developers? How should I build apps and integrate into this new hardware?
  • Combination and usage into connected home devices and HomeKit?
  • Scenarios in combination of multiple HomePods in one or multiple rooms?

homepod-siri-interact

Top 10 ways people are using digital home assistants

  1. Play streamed or downloaded music
  2. Ask a question
  3. Get news/weather/traffic
  4. Get sports news
  5. Control lights/thermostat/fans
  6. Check/revise calendar/to do lists
  7. Play videos
  8. Search for/play podcasts
  9. Read/compose emails/texts
  10. Order products from Amazon or elsewhere

Source: “Commanding Media 2017,” GfK

Résumé about Apple HomePod

The potential of the Apple HomePod from my perspective seems exciting. Especially through the ecosystem and focus on music is a clever move, as “playing music is by far the most common application for the assistants, cited by two-thirds (63%) of DHA owners” says GfK. Answering more questions and positioning the product into the center of home, what is obviously in the name of HomePod, might be another step forward into the success of Apple and their ecosystem. Especially because of Apple HomePod still is not available it might boost ideas and competitors to move forward in this section, especially into highend quality speakers which is a very special market segment not only for nerds.

I am curious and exited watching Microsoft, Amazon and Google about their answers fighting for this market. Also check out the latest statistics and numbers around Amazon Echo and Alexa skills. What do you think?


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