TrendForce reveals who is winning the smart speaker race

The Apple Home Pod smart speaker inside the Cupertino lab in which it was developed

The Apple Home Pod smart speaker inside the Cupertino lab in which it was developed

In answering to your "Hey Siri" vocal commands, Apple's assistant can perform numerous same table-stakes tasks as Amazon's Alexa on Echos or the Google Assistant on Google Home speakers - from setting timers and reminders to informing you of the weather and traffic, turning on smart lights or solving math. From this perspective, uninsured Apple users basically get a discount on a like-new HomePod. However, its Siri and Apple Music exclusivity make it a hard sell as a smart speaker for anyone who isn't fully invested in Apple's ecosystem.

Apple has four new HomePod commercials called: Equalizer, Distortion, Bass, and Beat. The new smart speaker, which is designed by the Cupertino giant to offer a premium sound experience with integration, comes at a price of $349 (approximately Rs. 22,500), and is available for purchase in the US, UK, and Australia.

Likewise, The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern said that "HomePod nails the speaker but struggles at smart".

What's more, Sonos supports more streaming platforms than HomePod, and not only works with Alexa out of the box but also promises to make nice soon with the Google Assistant, and, yes, Siri.

"Apple's not that strong in enterprise, other than on BYOD", said Michael Oh, CTO of Cambridge, Mass. -based solution provider TSP.

As with most smart speakers, the HomePod is capable of recognizing voice commands. But if you want a useful smart assistant as well as the freedom to use whatever service you want, it's best to walk on by.

Users will also need to use AirPlay to play music with a service other than Apple Music.

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From the look of it, Apple sees HomePod mainly as a way to extend the reach of its Apple Music service, not Siri.

That is not to say that the Amazon Echo is a bad system in this department, far from it, but the Google Home voice recognition capability is superior to either of its competitors.

More: A smart home sounds like a great idea.

For all the features and functionality, though, Siri still needs a lot of work. And any software makers that are allowed into Apple's walled garden have to custom develop their products for the underlying Apple platform but can't even deploy them across all devices. Another question: are there enough people out there willing to pay that much more for better sound?

USA Today: "Apple has opened up Siri to developers, but the feature set for HomePod and Siri is more narrow - you might send messages by voice or consult your grocery list, but the list of third-party apps that are compatible with HomePod are relatively thin, including LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Skype for iPhone and Evernote".

The competition for voice-controlled smart devices has really only just begun, and smart homes will soon be followed by AI in our cars and offices. "Not even Siri can answer whether that will be possible".

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