The HomePod is finally here, but will it live up to the expectations? How will it stand against rivals like the Amazon Echo and Google Home? Image: Apple

Although Amazon and Google are current leaders in the market, that fact could very well change as Apple’s HomePod smart speaker, which was announced on June 2017, has been given a release date, set for February 9th, 2019. It was originally set to be out for sale in December 2017, but it got delayed to early 2018.

Smart speakers and AI assistants have been on the rise since last year. People can give voice commands to request basic helping chores such as setting alarms, writing down a to-do list, setting up reminders or even telling a joke. Playlists, shopping lists and most frequented pages online serve as information to shape an actual home-helper.

The Amazon Echo currently dominates the market. Its own interface and personal assistant, Alexa, have made it widely popular among consumers. A “wake word” activates the system, which relies on the Internet to process commands and properly assist the order.

Close behind is the Google Home, which follows the same basic concept as the Amazon Echo, featuring control on entertainment platforms for the owners.

HomePod: Specs, features, and price

At a starting price of 349$, the Homepod will provide the user with new interactive features, including messaging, adjusting room temperature, reading the news, streaming national public radio, and like other smart-speaker devices, music playlists that match the owner’s taste. It features AirPlay 2 compatibility, allowing multi-speaker audio streaming, and Siri thanks to its Apple A8 Chip.

That being said, and despite having fancy features that could make it the leader of the market, the release date of the product may cause a downfall in its sales, due to the fact that many shoppers bought rival smart-speakers and don’t need an Apple Homepod.

HomePod vs. the competition

Even providing new features that may not have been seen with previous smart-speakers, the concept basically remains the same, but with a much higher price than Google Home Mini, which was discounted for as low as 50$ this past holiday season.

According to USA Today, “Amazon’s own second-generation Echo costs around $100, but while it provides richer sound with an assist from Dolby than the original Echo, the pitch seems less about the audio and more about Alexa’s 25,000-plus skills.”

Apple’s new Homepod presents a mixture of versatile AI assisting skills and perhaps one of the most advanced audio technologies in the market. It exhibits state of the art crafting, based on the company’s history of waiting and conquering.

Source: Apple