Apple HomePod Rivals Amazon and Google Devices


The Verge

Credit: The Verge

The world first learned about Apple’s newest addition last year at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. On Feb. 9, the HomePod officially hit stores and, since then, has been receiving mixed reviews from buyers and critics. The one drawback those wanting to purchase the HomePod may have is that the HomePod only is compatible with Apple devices that are updated to the current iOS 11.

In 2014, Amazon released Amazon Alexa and, in response to its success, the company has also released an Amazon Echo and Amazon Dot. Google hopped on the bandwagon in 2016 and came out with Google Home. With all these competitor products in the market, what makes the HomePod so special?

“It’s the ultimate music authority, bringing together Apple Music and Siri to learn your taste in music. It’s also an intelligent home assistant, capable of handling everyday tasks,” said Apple.

With having Apple Music, the HomePod has access to millions of songs for users to listen to. iOS users can control the HomePod right on their music app. The speaker itself, however, does not have Bluetooth compatibility. Users who wish to project music to the HomePod need to use Apple’s AirPlay.

Apple's Official YouTube Channel

“You can send audio from apps, including Spotify, that implement AirPlay but you lose any advanced audio control through Siri, limited to volume, pause and skip. Your iPhone or iPad needs to remain on and connected to the same Wi-Fi network too, as it is the conduit through which the audio flows,” said an article posted to The Guardian.

During Super Bowl LII, Amazon commercials aired for Alexa with a star studded cast. In the commercial, Alexa loses her voice and celebrities like Cardi B, and Rebel Wilson are seen filing in for her. Someone asks Alexa to play country music and Cardi B ends up playing her hit song “Bodak Yellow.” The commercial was received well by viewers and is almost at 48 million views on YouTube.

Apple so far has not released any promotional videos showcasing the HomePod in action, rather just videos of the HomePod itself with music set to them.

“Siri helps you find exactly what you want to hear, and what you want to hear next — including new music across a huge range of genres and moods,” said Apple.

For virtually less features than Google Home and Amazon’s products, the HomePod starts at $349 and comes in two colors. Competitor prices are more than half the price. Google Home starts at $99 and Google Home Mini starts at $39. Amazon products like Alexa, Dot and Echo range from $40 to $140.