Home » Amazon, Apple » Amazon Has a Few Things to Say About Apple’s HomePod

Amazon Has a Few Things to Say About Apple’s HomePod

8 June 2017

From PC Magazine:

Apple made its long-awaited debut into the smart home space at WWDC this week, announcing its $349 Apple HomePod connected speaker with Siri. At the Wired Business Conference today in New York City, the exec behind Alexa—Amazon’s SVP of Devices David Limp—explained how he thinks Apple’s connected speaker fits into the landscape.

There’s plenty of talk about pitting the features, pricing, and specs of Apple HomePod, Amazon Echo, and Google Home against one another. For Limp, the first thing that stands out about the HomePod is its price.

“It’s definitely a premium product at $350,” said Limp. “From our standpoint, it’s a little different philosophically from how we’re looking at Echo. We see these endpoints for assistants in every room. One of the reasons we came out with the Echo Dot was getting the price to under $50. If you think about putting an Echo in every room times a two-room apartment or an eight-room home…compared to $350 for HomePod you could have eight Dots with our three-pack.”

. . . .

“The second thing we learned [aside from pricing] is that people’s taste in speakers are unbelievably personal,” Limp argued. “It’s like cars. What you like in terms of the bass response, someone else may hate because they listen to classical music and focus on the treble.

“You might like Bose, they might like Sonos,” he continued. “Dot and Echo through Bluetooth and Audio Out can connect to other speakers. A Dot with the speaker of your choice seems like the right path for consumers. It’ll be interesting to see if Apple comes to the same conclusion.”

. . . .

“Our hope and our first efforts are to open up the environment with skills to augment Alexa. Over time you could imagine saying something like ‘Hey Alexa, ask Siri this.'”

Limp said that’s a very real use case, and that the differences between Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant ultimately shouldn’t stop that kind of integration in the future. Amazon’s stance is that it’s open to integrations and making sure its software works with anyone’s hardware.

Link to the rest at PC Magazine

PG says he’s using Echo and Echo Dot in different ways around Casa PG since he bought more than one. The more places where he can access Alexa, the more he talks to Alexa. (Like asking Alexa when the next Chicago Cubs game is.)

Amazon, Apple

19 Comments to “Amazon Has a Few Things to Say About Apple’s HomePod”

    • ” Twitter Thinks Apple’s HomePod Looks Like A Roll Of Toilet Paper
      Users also compared it to a “electric marshmallow.” ”

      Thank you for those headlines, you got an actual LOL out of me thinking of what the Apple boardroom did when they saw it (and then they needed some TP themselves. 😉 )

  1. “You might like Bose, they might like Sonos,” he continued. “Dot and Echo through Bluetooth and Audio Out can connect to other speakers. A Dot with the speaker of your choice seems like the right path for consumers. It’ll be interesting to see if Apple comes to the same conclusion.”

    My bet is it’ll have either no speaker hook-up allowed (because Apple knows best, just ask them), or it will only talk to an overpraised overpriced Apple speaker that will look as out of place as the homepod does. (Hmmm, a roll of paper towels anyone?)

  2. “From our standpoint, it’s a little different philosophically from how we’re looking at Echo.

    Of course it isn’t. The competition will revolve around the implementation.

  3. I’m waiting eagerly for Echo to support an intercom function. Now that would be useful.

  4. What most surprised me about the Apple system (after gagging at the price), was that they’re primarily selling it to play music. It’s a sound system, according to their marketing, even though it does have other functions.

    Amazon’s Echo, OTOH, can play music, but that’s only one of the things it can do. They’re selling it as a multi-purpose digital assistant for a much cheaper price.

    • As when Apple was looking into selling ebooks with the qig5, they don’t like having to compete if they can rig the game. Since they can’t beat what others are already doing, they’ll settle for just throwing something out there and seeing how many fanboys/girls they still have.

      I think the homepad is just there so they can set one next to their new imac, and looking at those imac prices has me thinking of how high-end I could go on a PC rig and still have jingle in my pocket afterwards. (If of course I could find an old copy of 7 laying around … 😉 )

      • they don’t like having to compete if they can rig the game.

        Few businesses do.

      • Actually, I am an Apple fangirl. I bought a new iMac in January and I love it.

        But I don’t need to have everything Apple and I certainly don’t need the latest and greatest. If I want to play music, I’ll still put my ancient iPod (which, amazingly enough, still updates from iTunes via USB) in my Bose docking station.

      • Since they can’t beat what others are already doing, they’ll settle for just throwing something out there and seeing how many fanboys/girls they still have.

        I think I’ll buy two, since I have always found Apple products well worth the money.

        • Patricia Sierra

          Until recently I had Fire Phones. I thought they were good phones and wondered why they were dissed so thoroughly. Then about two weeks ago I bought an iPhone. It feels like I’ve moved forward a century or two. Sooo much better than the Fire Phone, yet not much costlier than the Fire was when it was introduced. I’ve never been an Apple fangirl, but I may be getting there now.

      • Felix J. Torres

        “Me, too” products can make money, too. 🙂

        Especially if you have strong brand loyalty and can milk it without killing the cow.
        It doesn’t have to be “insanely great” or even particularly good to make money. The stronger the brand, the lower the bar for “success”.

        Apple’s brand is still strong enough that “success” starts at “it doesn’t explode”. 🙂

  5. Patricia Sierra

    PG, did you connect your Dot(s) to a speaker? I bought a Dot but returned it. The sound quality was very poor. I don’t know if I got a faulty Dot or if Amazon intends for folks to hook it up to a speaker (something I didn’t want to do).

    • Felix J. Torres

      If you mean the music quality was sub-par, that is more or less by design. If the voice quality was poor, though, that would be a sample defect. As the article points out, the onboard speaker is not intended to be a high fidelity music source. (You can’t really cram much of a speaker in that form factor/price.) It is meant to be a supplement to a better echo, an accessory to a home audio/video system, or a voice command device more than an audio player.

      • Patricia Sierra

        It was Alexa’s voice that was lousy. I almost never listen to music. I don’t have the music gene.

        • Felix J. Torres

          Then it was likely a bad unit. Because Alexa is supposed to sound the same as the DOT commercials.

          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RcPscTZmm-U

          Voice is one thing that doesn’t need great hardware to sound good.

          • Patricia Sierra

            Wow. That sound in the commercial is exactly like the Echo Alexa. I definitely had a faulty Dot. I had figured the Dot was inferior after reading a lot of reviews on the product page. That’s why I returned it rather than exchange it. But now I have orders in for two Echo Shows, so I won’t need a Dot. If Amazon keeps putting out Alexa products, I’m going to need to build more rooms onto my house.

  6. Apple’s focus for voice communication is their iPhone first, Apple Watch second and wireless earphones third. If you want to talk to Siri, you just speak and your iPhone or Apple Watch will hear you. I rarely go far enough away from my iPhone that it can’t hear me. As wireless earphones become better and better, listening to music on them will increasingly be the best option.

    Last I checked, Apple sells about three times as many Apple Watches as Echo devices and many, many more iPhones. Amazon is playing up the Echo mainly because it can’t get it’s electronics into your home with other methods. Overall, it seems more like a fun gadget than a serious computer alternative.

    I don’t think Apple takes the talking speaker market very seriously in it’s long term plans. But I think they had to respond to the Echo short term, because even hard core Apple fans like me were considering buying one just for fun and for those few times when I might prefer to listen on a speaker than headphones.

    Rather than lose those Apple fans to Amazon, Apple provides them with a (expensive) option. I think that’s a smart move. (I’m going to buy one or more.)

    This is similar to what Apple has done with the Apple TV (which Jobs called a “hobby.”) Apple isn’t serious about competing head on into the TV streaming market, but provides a device that true Apple fans can use so they aren’t forced to go to Google or Amazon for streaming devices.

    Yes, Apple devices are almost always more expensive. That’s their market segment. But I think this speaker is mostly a “hobby” and isn’t meant to try to become a wide spread consumer device. Apple’s focus is on mobile.

    I think it’s also important to understand it’s not in Apple’s interest to get over 50% market share in critical areas because it will run into anti-trust issues. They just want the top 40% of high end sales. If Apple could pick a company to dominate the cheaper talking speaker market, Amazon is the perfect pick rather than Google or Microsoft. So that might be why we are hearing Apple and Amazon making nice noises about each other.

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