“Apple has officially stepped into the market for stationary speakers powered by virtual assistants, a product category that Amazon.com pioneered in 2015 with the Echo,” Evan Niu writes for The Motley Fool. “Apple has never put all that much weight into being the first to market provided it can be the best when it finally gets there.”

“Consumers will have to consider the HomePod’s premium price tag of $349. That’s nearly twice the $180 that the standard Echo costs,” Niu writes. “Of course, premium pricing is Apple’s typical strategy, and the company attempts to justify this premium by saying that the combined cost of a Wi-Fi speaker and a smart speaker can easily run $400 to $700. That argument implies that the Echo’s sound quality is rather poor, even if it’s connected and smart.”

“HomePod’s integration with Apple Music will be an advantage,” Niu writes. “Apple Music is already the second-largest paid music-streaming platform behind Spotify. Amazon bundles Prime Music into a Prime membership, but most people don’t sign up for Prime for music streaming. Prime Music offers a paltry 2 million songs in its catalog, while Apple Music is now up to 40 million songs.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As for home automation functions, Amazon’s Echo cannot compete with the breadth and security that devices which are compatible Apple’s HomeKit offer.

See all home automation devices that are HomeKit enabled here.

CNET: Apple’s HomePod offers superior sound quality vs. Amazon Echo and Sonos Play:3 – June 6, 2017
Apple’s new HomePod sounds incredible! – June 6, 2017
Apple HomePod takes on Amazon Echo – June 6, 2017
Apple reveals HomePod smart home music speaker – June 5, 2017
Newsflash: Apple sells premium products at premium prices to premium customers – October 23, 2012