While Apple's (AAPL) iMac updates and the new HomePod speaker drew most of the attention at the company's World Wide Developers conference Monday, investors may have missed the most notable trend coming from the tech giant. Year-over-year, the number of US consumers using voice-activated assistant devices is up 128.9%, according to eMarketer.
There are spec differences too: HomePod features 7 tweeters, a 4-inch woofer, a 6-microphone array and an Apple A8 chip processor, while Echo features a 2.0-inch tweeter, a 2.5-inch woofer, a 7-microphone array and a Texas Instruments processor.
Apple has entered the Bluetooth speaker market with the HomePod. The next iOS may also have new features designed for artificial intelligence, the application of computers that learn and understand things like humans.
This week, Apple gave notice that it was entering the arena with the HomePod.
Since then, former Siri team members say that development on the voice assistant has been stymied by "a failure to set ambitious goals, shifting strategies and a culture that prioritizes user privacy-making it hard to personalize and improve the product".
However, a recent statement from an Amazon exec holds that the HomePod is not such a big threat to the Echo family, as the products are "different philosophically" and should appeal to different tastes and needs.
It is the first new device Apple has announced in nearly three years.
All the smart speakers act as the Home Hub, and HomePod will let you control your all your HomeKit enabled lights and other accessories. The product is an initiative by Apple to expand into the $50 billion wireless smart speaker industry.
Still, its capabilities to fill up a room with super high-quality music come at a higher price than most products in the market. Both Google and Amazon's voice control systems record a few seconds before and after you call on them - and save those recordings online until you delete them. But the device is more than just a music player. The Apple HomePod has been positioned as a smart speaker first, but interestingly the HomePod bears a lot in common with both the Amazon Echo and the Google Home. Making the most of it will require a subscription to Apple's own music streaming service, which runs $10 to $15 per month and has attracted 27 million subscribers so far.
It is also likely only a matter of time before HomePod starts getting services akin to those already being offered by Amazon and Google.
One can ask HomePod any question and have Siri respond.
The two speakers also have other functionalities aside from playing music.
HomePod, aided by Apple´s Siri digital assistant, will be priced at $349 when it begins shipping in December in the United States, Australia and Britain.