Apple HomePod – another smart speaker or something better?

Apple has announced the release of the HomePod, the next “smart speaker” on the market. Priced way out of the ballpark at $499, will this survive on the market? Apple surely are repeating history by offering a premium product and setting its own price. The HomePod however is a product on its own, setting the bar in sound quality first and being a smart speaker second. Sure you can go and purchase a Google Home Mini for $79, however this will not replace your home speaker system.

A smart speaker is really pretty simple. You take a standard audio speaker, add Bluetooth for easy device pairing and then add a digital assistant i.e. Siri or Google Assistant. Saying that, HomePod however is not a standard audio speaker. It comes jam packed with a high-excursion woofer, a six microphone array, a seven tweeter array and Apple’s designed A8 chip; all to help deliver that superior sound quality.

The sound in this device is surprising and unexpected, possibly comparable to the 2002 iMac G4 and its tiny speaker system. Looking at those speakers and then hearing the sound that was produced was amazing. This is the same type of amazement the HomePod was designed to deliver. You could say that the HomePod is more of a competitor to the SONOS speaker system rather than Amazon Echo and Google Home.

In terms of privacy, Apple has the advantage with this system compared to Google and Amazon. Marketing the HomePod primarily as a music speaker which can also handle simple Siri requests means its not gathering information based on usage. Google and Amazon however do gather information so that they can supply you with the ads and products you like to buy. Really it’s just a form of advertisement, Apple just do it in another way.

With Apple being themselves, we can expect a huge marketing sweep around its new HomePod to get us to buy it. Basically if you’re into music, iTunes and so on then buying a HomePod will be a great investment. On the other hand, if you’re looking to “play with the new toy” and already have a mixed environment setup then it will probably be a skip for this one.