Apple's HomePod - what analysts think of the Siri-powered smart home speaker unveiled at WWDC 2017

 
Lynsey Barber
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Apple HomePod follows Amazon Echo and Google Home on to the market (Source: Getty)

Apple unveiled a major new product that has long been rumoured - a smart home speaker.

The new device sees it taking on the likes of Amazon and Google in a market that is hotting up.

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."

Music-centric

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."

Done right

Neil Shah, Counterpoint research

More to come?

Ben Bajarin, Creative Insights

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https://twitter.com/BenBajarin/status/871807502253309952

https://twitter.com/BenBajarin/status/871809116800339968

https://twitter.com/BenBajarin/status/871809503016005632

https://twitter.com/BenBajarin/status/871810509334380545

Shifting prices?

Bob O'Donnell, Technalysis

https://twitter.com/bobodtech/status/871809075088158722

https://twitter.com/bobodtech/status/871809749490249728

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