One more thing! Apple s dramatic anti-climax for this year s WWDC 2017 was its very own Siri-powered smart home speaker. Oddly called, Apple HomePod, the speaker takes on Amazon Echo and Google Home. Apple says its smart home speaker delivers a right balance of sound quality as well as smart assistance, something the competition hasn t accomplished yet. With an aggressive price of $349 (Rs 22,500 approximately), Apple would hope to win this rapidly becoming popular segment. But does HomePod stand a chance against the rivals? Let s find out. Also Read - Phones launching in India next week: Google Pixel 6, Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, OnePlus 9RT and moreAlso Read - Best laptops under Rs 35,000 in October 2021: Asus VivoBook 15, Avita PURA, more
Before we elaborate, here s a brief basic about smart home speakers. Apple HomePod, Google Home, and Amazon Echo are essentially internet-connected speakers which directly stream music from services like Apple Music, Google Play Music, and Amazon Prime Music. These speakers come with built-in digital assistants which are activated by voice commands. Earlier, digital assistants were only part of smartphones and with smart homes being the drive for every major tech firm, these voice-based assistants are now coming home with smart speakers which talk and respond to requests made. Sounds like, literally, a friend from future. Good thing is, smart speakers category now have major players competing against each other which leave consumers spoilt for options to choose from.
Apple HomePod vs Google Home vs Amazon Echo: Features, specifications compared
Amazon Echo, powered by Alexa voice assistant, has been around for over a couple of years now. Then came Google Home based on Google Assistant, two years later and now Apple HomePod based on Siri is here to power your home. Talking about how much space this device would occupy in your home, Apple HomePod is broader in diameter than Amazon Echo and Google Home. On the other hand, Amazon Echo is the tallest and Google Home the shortest among the three.
For the acoustics, Apple HomePod has 7-beam forming tweeters, each with its own amplifier. Under the hood, it is powered by company’s A8 chipset and on the top appears the Siri waveform with integrated touch controls. On the other hand, Google Home has a 2-inch driver and dual 2-inch passive radiators while Amazon Echo has built-in 2.0-inch tweeter accompanied by a 2.5-inch woofer. Google Assitant waveform is displayed at the top of the speaker while on Amazon Echo, a circular Blue-LED lit rim indicates when the speaker is engaged. ALSO READ: WWDC 2017: Here are the top features of iOS 11
In terms of hardware, Apple clearly is at par with Google Home and Amazon Echo on paper. The Cupertino giant has a long reputation for hardware than the other two. Only, if you have a knack for colors, Google Home comes with different color options at the base of the speaker to customize.
Music streaming and productivity
Apple HomePod offers users to stream music from the Apple Music which is populated with over 40 million songs and growing. The company harps a lot that in recent years has made a lot of new upgrades to its music library and the way it is curated for iOS devices. Notably, Apple HomePod is still limited to music streaming and only little support from Siri assistant to power your home. It shan’t be wrong to say, Apple HomePod is the new iPod but for homes.
Google Home streams music from Google Play Music and third-party apps like Spotify. Just last month at the I/O Developer Conference 2017, Google announced to make the Google Assistant on Google Home even smarter than before. So, now you can stream Youtube, Netflix, and other services on you home devices by just commanding the Google Home. The smart speaker also offers you to help with Google Maps, Google Translate, Google Calendar and other Google apps. ALSO READ: Amazon Echo or Google Home: Do Indians need to care about these smart devices?
On the other hand, Amazon Echo being the pioneer has an early hands on most of the other third-party services than just streaming music from Amazon Prime Music and Spotify. The Echo speaker lets you shop online via voice commands and also give you options to get it delivered or pickup. Echo has over the time evolved and offers to look for complicated things with easy commands. Something, which Google Home might beat them at in time to come.
Price and Availability
Apple HomePod has been announced at a price of $350 (approximately Rs 22,000) and will only be available in December this year. If you look forward to much more stereophonic sound experience on Apple HomePod, you can buy a pair for $700 (approximately Rs 44,000), the company says. Google Home comes at a price of $129 (approximately Rs 10,000) and is readily available online in the US. Amazon Echo retails at $180 (approximately Rs 13,000) while you can also own just the Amazon Echo Dot for $50 (approximately Rs 3,000). ALSO READ : WWDC 2017: iOS 11 Files app goes official, supports Dropbox, third-party cloud services