Apple is late to the smart speaker market. Late in coming out with a product and even more late in putting it out in the market. In less than a month’s time, though, the HomePod’s rocky origins might all be forgotten, just like any other new Apple product. In fact, it’s going to knock all other smart speakers out of the ring in one blow. At least that’s how believers see and it’s definitely how Tim Cook believes it. And the Apple chief executive is explaining how.
It really boils down to the same advantage that Apple has had in any of its products. Both the hardware and the software are made by the very same people and integrate perfectly, or almost perfectly, with any other Apple product. But that isn’t just in terms of practicality. It’s a business model that even the likes of Microsoft and Google try, and fail, to emulate.
Google and Amazon both make Google Assistant and Alexa devices, respectively, but also license the platform for other device makers who are competing with them in terms of product market share. Cook said “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.” Of course, Google has been using that model with Android, though it only recently had a bigger stake in the actual device market with the Pixel phones.
Cook is also banking on the HomePod’s “very immersive audio experience”, referring to the status quo of smart speakers having mediocre if not dismal audio output. That said, a few new devices have come up bearing more professional components, so we’ll have to wait for the February 9th launch date to hear the truth.
Cook delivered “them fighting words” at his visit to Canadian e-commerce company Shopify. There he also got a chance to reaffirm Apple’s and his own stance on AR technology. “I believe that AR is the most profound technology of the future. It amplifies human performance. It amplifies humans, not substitutes, and doesn’t isolate. I’m a huge believer in it.”
SOURCE: Financial Post