“Apple is late to the smart speaker market — but it can still win,” Natalie Walters reports for TheStreet. “Apple’s $400 [sic] [recte $349] Siri-powred HomePod smart speaker is set to ship in December, three years after Amazon introduced the $179.99 Alexa-powered Echo and a year-and-a-half after the $129.99 Google Assistant-powered Google Home was released from Google, owned by Alphabet.”

“Alexa-enabled devices command over 70% of the smart speaker market — for now. Loup Ventures founder Gene Munster thinks Apple is set up to leap over Amazon as the market leader, according to a note he released on Friday,” Walters reports. “‘Apple can make up for the three years it sat out of the smart speaker sector because the long-term winner in the space will be the speaker that “provides its user with a heightened experience and improved efficiency,’ he wrote. ‘We believe Apple is uniquely positioned to do so, as Apple’s device ecosystem delivers a frictionless experience, which will only get better with the adoption of voice-first computing.'”

Amazon “playing at a disadvantage without an existing base of smartphone users that can integrate the technology, he noted. On the other hand, Google, which claims a 24% chunk of the market, doesn’t have the ‘exposure’ that Alexa Skills or SiriKit has, he noted,” Walters reports. “SiriKit is important for the success of the HomePod because it allows third-party developers to integrate iOS apps and watchOS apps with Siri. Soon, users will be able to ask Siri to carry out more complicated tasks than simply reporting the weather or setting a timer, Munster noted… Siri is setting the HomePod up to take the smart speaker market by storm because its strength is being able to handle questions that are more complex, Munster said. ”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s almost time to give Siri another chance. As Apple Watch users know, Siri works differently on different hardware; Siri is very useful on Apple Watch, understands commands and takes dictation very well.

HomePod will sell itself first with its stellar sound quality and, later, with its robust capabilities as a smart personal assistant.

As Reddit user Arve stated after HomePod’s unveiling:

1. They’re using some form of dynamic modeling, and likely also current sensing that allows them to have a p-p excursion of 20 mm in a 4″ driver. This is completely unheard of in the home market. You can read an introduction to the topic here. The practical upshot is that that 4″ driver can go louder than larger drivers, and with significantly less distortion. It’s also stuff you typically find in speakers with five-figure price tags (The Beolab 90 does this, and I also suspect that the Kii Three does). It’s a quantum leap over what a typical passive speaker does, and you don’t really even find it in higher-end powered speakers

2. The speaker uses six integrated beamforming microphones to probe the room dimensions, and alter its output so it sounds its best wherever it is placed in the room. It’ll know how large the room is, and where in the room it is placed.

3. The room correction applied after probing its own position isn’t simplistic DSP of frequency response, as the speaker has seven drivers that are used to create a beamforming speaker array,. so they can direct specific sound in specific directions. The only other speakers that do this is the Beolab 90, and Lexicon SL-1. The Beolab 90 is $85,000/pair, and no price tag is set for the Lexicon, but the expectation in the industry is “astronomical”.

So yes, compared to the typical sub-$2000 speaker, the technology they apply may just as well be considered “magic”.

Apple’s HomePod is uniquely positioned to win the smart speaker market – August 25, 2017
Consumers appear eager to buy Apple’s upcoming HomePod smart speaker – July 14, 2017
After seeing Apple’s HomePod, Amazon is working on an Apple HomePod echo – July 14, 2017
Apple Watch and AirPods in high demand; HomePod buying intent outpaces Amazon Echo – July 10, 2017
Apple’s HomePod could have an even more successful start than Apple Watch – July 7, 2017
Amazon Echo has a problem: Apple’s HomePod has major advantage over rivals – June 18, 2017
Apple’s HomePod first impressions: Lots of mystery, impressive sound quality – June 8, 2017
With HomePod, Apple just wants to shake things up (for now) – June 7, 2017
Apple HomePod vs. Amazon Echo – June 7, 2017
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