Tim Cook says audio quality puts HomePod ahead of ‘squeaky-sounding’ competition

“Tim Cook on Tuesday offered a peek into Apple’s ambitions for HomePod amid a landscape littered with smart speakers powered by Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, suggesting the key to success lies in Apple’s ability to seamlessly integrate hardware and software,” Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider. “The Apple chief questions whether licensing Alexa and Google Assistant to third parties, then launching first-party products like Echo and Google Home, is a counterintuitive strategy. ‘Competition makes all of us better and I welcome it,’ Cook said. ‘(But) if you are both trying to license something and compete with your licensees, this is a difficult model and it remains to be seen if it can be successful or not.'”

“Cook went on to tout HomePod’s sound quality,” Campbell reports. “‘We think one thing that was missing from this market was a quality audio experience, a very immersive audio experience,’ he said. ‘Music deserves that kind of quality as opposed to some kind of squeaky sound.'”

“With Amazon clearly in the driver’s seat,” Campbell reports, “it remains to be seen whether Apple can convince consumers that sound quality and a premium user experience trump Alexa’s wide array of service integrations and lower hardware price points.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully HomePod sells far better than Apple’s last attempt at selling sound quality, the iPod Hi-Fi. The basic ability for HomePod to play music throughout the house with multi-room support at launch certainly would have helped sales, but, of course, a company the size of Apple can only do so much.

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  1. Time will tell. In an Apple Insider podcast, Dan Dilger said this was not supposed to be a Siri Box to compete with the Alexa Box. Rather, it’s supposed to be a sophisticated speaker which main purpose is sound, bringing expensive technology to the average person. We shall see.

    1. Sounds right, I bet this in one way or another a continuation of the iPod Hi-Fi, and almost certainly the audiophile legacy of Steve Jobs. It’s pretty cool in a way to bring high-quality sound to the masses, the problem is that smart speakers are the rage and this doesn’t fit the mold of something that’s cheap enough to buy five of and spread throughout your house.

      Most people don’t really care about high quality audio, ironically Apple is most responsible for this by providing over a billion tinny-sounding EarPods to people with their iPhones and iPods. Now the spin has to be: “You know those thousands of hours of music and podcasts you listened to for the past 17 years? That was shite. You’ve never really heard quality until now with HomePod and a lifetime Apple Music subscription!”

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