Apple unveiled a major new product that has long been rumoured - a smart home speaker.
Here's what analysts make of the HomePod. (read more about the device here)
Not a surprise
Geoff Blaber, vice president of research, Americas, at CCS Insight
"It is little surprise that Apple has decided to launch a smart speaker. It can’t afford to yield valuable real-estate in the heart of people’s homes to Amazon, Google and others as access to content, information and search becomes pervasive and less dependent on the smartphone.
"Apple’s HomePod speaker casts fresh focus on Siri and will draw inevitable comparisons with the AI smarts of Amazon, Baidu, Google and others. This is the product that will measure Apple's progress and whether its stance on privacy hinders its machine learning endeavours.
"As the iPhone reaches a point of near saturation in mature markets and replacement rates continue to slow, Apple must find new ways to lock in users. Adding a smart speaker into people’s homes creates a further touch point for consumers and a valuable gateway to Apple services. With over 165m subscriptions to Apple services and quarterly revenue of $7bn this is an important priority for growth."
Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw research
"It’s the first new product category from Apple in a couple of years, and an entry in a hot space. However, Apple is smart to frame the HomePod as a music-centric and audio-centric device rather than just another smart speaker or another home for Siri. Yes, it does those things too, but that’s not how Apple wants us to think about it.
"At $349, the HomePod is priced well above the pure smart speakers from Google and Amazon, but Apple doesn’t want to be compared against those – instead, it wants to be considered in the same category as Sonos, Bang & Olufsen, and other high-end audio. In that category, the $349 price point is actually really competitive.
"The fact that Apple is claiming to marry really great and smart audio with a smart assistant and cloud music service makes this device unique in the market so far. I would bet that Apple will sell a lot of these at Christmas and into next year."
Neil Shah, Counterpoint research
Wat Apple has done right with HomePod is, sticking to its core competency & not build another Echo.— Neil Shah (@neiltwitz) June 5, 2017
design, music, experience & $$#WWDC17
More to come?
Ben Bajarin, Creative Insights
Sound quality has been the real bummer of all the smart speakers. Apple looks to be taking strides to make an amazing sound experience.— Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin) June 5, 2017
Running an A8 chip! Lots of really interesting audio technology in Homepod. They have been working on this for years.— Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin) June 5, 2017
Interesting that home assistant was the last/bottom feature they talked about. Focusing on music is smart, main use case for smart speakers.— Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin) June 5, 2017
$349 is a decent starting price, especially if the sound is as good as hyped.— Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin) June 5, 2017
Apple clearly didn’t reveal all about Homepod yet. Really interested to learn how it handles multi-person use.— Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin) June 5, 2017
Bob O'Donnell, Technalysis