Smart Speaker Apple HomePod: A Real Amazon Echo Alternative?

Kaufberatung: Better to buy an Amazon Echo or the new HomePod from Apple?

Smart Speaker Apple HomePod: A Real Amazon Echo Alternative? Photo: Apple
Smart Speaker Apple HomePod: A Real Amazon Echo Alternative? Photo: Apple

[contains unpaid advertising] Smart speakers are currently the bestseller among tech products. The small boxes with more or less great sound have been conquering the world for some time now. At the moment, more and more intelligent speakers with WLAN, Bluetooth and digital assistants are streaming into the shops. Amazon Echo with Alexa, Google Home and the Sonos One - also with Alexa - dominate the market right now. Now a new sheriff is in town: The Apple HomePod with Siri. Which smart speaker is the best choice? Update (at the end of the article): Meanwhile there is new information, which supports audio sources of the HomePod. Astonishingly, Bluetooth is not one of them!

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What did we love our Amazon Echo? The slightly oversized can is currently one of the best smart speakers on the market and thanks to the intelligent voice assistant Alexa really a lot. Above all, the small box is very entertaining thanks to its voice control and not infrequently makes conversation with friends. In addition, the device looks really stylish in silver. The voice-based control makes operation much easier in many places. One gets used to it all too easily. Voice control in products is not really new, but it's been in the last few months and years that Amazon has improved Alexa's abilities so much that operating a wizard finally works well. Unfortunately, you can not say that to the same extent of Apple's Siri yet. Siri can do a lot, but in everyday use with the iPhone X and MacBook Pro Siri dangles in our experience currently a lot of crap.

He looks fancy: The current Amazon Echo Plus makes a good job! Photo: Amazon
He looks fancy: The current Amazon Echo Plus makes a good job! Photo: Amazon

Smart Speaker: With the HomePod Apple launches a new product category

For diehard Apple fans It is as if Christmas and Easter fall into a day when the electronics manufacturer brings a new product category to the market every jubilee year. Last was this the Apple Watch in 2015before that it was the flat tablet iPad in 2010. And in 2018 it is the Smart Speaker HomePod, who sees the light of day for the first time. Completely new product launches are not common. The more technology fans crave the new product. There was great disappointment recently when Apple recently delayed the launch by a few months. But certainly not without reason. Apple does not push products into the market until they are ready for it. Therefore, the additional waiting for the customer will certainly pay off in the end and hopefully the HomePod will see the light of the technology world without teething troubles.

HomePod brimming with the latest technology

The modern speaker should be bulging with the latest Technical and fear the competition. This is how the wireless loudspeaker should deliver the highest audio quality and at the same time orientate itself in the room. Once he has recognized his position, he can automatically align himself to adjust the sound according to his position in the room. Intelligence is the keyword. The HomePod should be a true smart speaker - smarter than the models of the competition. Whether the speaker meets this requirement, will be after the product launch show in the next few weeks.

Specifications of the Apple HomePod at a glance

The specifications of the only 18-centimeter-high, round housing are remarkable in any case: The Smart Speaker has an upwardly oriented woofer, which is software-controlled with a powerful, newly developed A8 chip from Apple. This should ensure that the speaker can deliver very clean and deep bass. In addition, the HomePod has seven tweeters, each with its own amplifier. So far, so common. However, the HomePod should have a technology that lets it quickly recognize its position in the room and align the sound accordingly. Apple promises that the HomePod provides the optimal music experience - regardless of where it is in the room.

Siri waveform: Detect users when the Apple HomePod is active. Photo: Apple
Siri waveform: Detect users when the Apple HomePod is active. Photo: Apple

One of the most important features of the new smart speaker is the ability to detect voices even at a distance and through a background noise with six microphones, which should have a so-called echo compensation. This may sound strange to some users, and certainly brings concerns about privacy. Apple promises, after all, that the collected data will be sent only anonymous and encrypted, if the Smart Speaker previously by the activation phrase "Hey Siri" was started. Similar to Amazon's echo speakers, the use of the digital assistant is illustrated by the display of colors, a "Siri waveform".


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In addition, the HomePod should be able to interact with at least one other HomePod - so that the purchase of two speakers for even better sound. The speaker will be available in white and Space Gray. Currently there is no information available for the price in Germany. In the US, the intelligent loudspeaker should cost 349 dollars. This is more than three times as expensive as many Amazon Echo speakers. When playing music, the HomePod relies on the streaming service Apple Music, where he can access 40 millions of songs. Especially for users who already have Apple products like this music service or a iPhone Apple's jukebox will surely be the first choice.

Combine HomePod with other speakers: With AirPlay 2, you no longer have to confine yourself to a smart speaker

Have my previous smart speakers had their day when the HomePod comes? Of course not! Then, shortly before the introduction of the new Apple Apple loudspeaker, the electronics company is bringing an update for iOS devices, with which several speakers in the room can be controlled via Bluetooth and WLAN.

Previously, you had to choose a box over which the sound was output. Whether this feature will be reasonably compatible with Amazon Echo devices from the beginning remains to be seen. But at least she lets hope that, for example, with an iPhone X, One iPad Pro or a Poppy The music from the Apple Music Library can be output through multiple speakers simultaneously. So far, this worked only on the Mac and worked partly unsatisfactory. That should change in the future, so that several intelligent loudspeakers can be easily combined for the maximum enjoyment of music.

If you have the change, you can of course buy one or more HomePods for each room. Anyone who already has intelligent Bluetooth speakers at home can easily combine them with each other. So we too will handle this - and as soon as it's available, integrate the HomePod into the existing system of smart speakers.

Page 2: Is the Amazon Echo perhaps even better than the HomePod?

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About Sascha Tobias Tegtmeyer 95 Article
As a journalist, passionate diver and ambitious stand up paddler, I've become more and more specialized in water sports topics. For several years as an online editor, content and SEO manager for the year Top Special Verlag in Hamburg, I edited the leading diving portal TAUCHEN.de editorially and am at home in the water sports industry. My passion is the sea and all the activities that can be practiced on, in, on and under water. To give this child a name, I created www.just-wanderlust.com - for all people who love the sea - love to travel and water sports like diving, surfing, stand up paddling.