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News, Technology | June 6, 2017


Apple has a product that promises to “rock the house.” But what if that house is already rockin’?

That’s the situation that Apple finds itself as it showed off its HomePod, a speaker that looks and acts a lot like competing products from Amazon and Google. The only hitch is Amazon has been at this since late 2014 with its family of Echo speakers, and Google introduced its Home speaker last year.

Apple presents the HomePod as a high-end speaker with surround sound, the ability to recognize where it is spatially and a DJ able to provide you with the best tunes. It will also tap into Siri’s voice-recognition abilities to answer questions and control the smart home, but much of the time was spent talking about audio quality.

“Apple is smart to position it as music centric rather than yet another smart speaker or just a home for a digital assistant,” said Jan Dawson, an analyst at Jackdaw Research. “That both plays to Apple’s strength and history in music and avoids the direct comparison in terms of price because this really does a lot more.”

The company will need to show why the speaker is markedly better than the competition due to the price gap. At $349, it is far more expensive than the Echo ($180) and Home ($129). Amazon’s most popular speaker, the Echo Dot, is only $50.

Apple has some time to make its case — the HomePod won’t come out until December.


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