Apple HomePod Faces Tough Odds Against Amazon Echo in Connected Home Market

Apple HomePod’s prospects for success.

HomePod, due in December, is Apple’s belated entrance into a connected orator marketplace and a challenger to Amazon’s personality in a space, a Echo. These devices, that know tellurian commands, can be used to sequence food, play music, and demeanour adult information on Wikipedia.

Connected speakers are partial of a broader white-hot marketplace for connected home devices, that Amazon, and Google wish to control opposite opposition inclination designed by series of others like Apple and Microsoft. All of these companies wish consumers to use their particular record to control connected gadgets, from intelligent lights and thermostats to audio-video gear.

Amazon (amzn) Echo has been broadly accessible for three years, while Google Home became broadly accessible final year. The large doubt is either Amazon has sealed adult so most of a marketplace that it’s now too late for Apple to benefit a poignant foothold.


Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, a Chicago-based investigate firm, seems to cruise that Amazon’s early prevalence hampers Apple’s chances. CIRP estimates that Amazon has sole 15 million Echos, accounting for 75% of a U.S. market, while Google has sole an estimated 5 million Homes, or 24%.

Neither Amazon nor Google discloses sales numbers.

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Most households will need only one “operating system,” and currently, Amazon Alexa—the voice partner behind a Echo— is it, according to CIRP. Others are also doubtful about Apple’s chances with HomePod and a Siri voice assistant. A consult of 2,200 consumers only after Apple’s HomePod proclamation in June, found that 55% of those surveyed had no seductiveness in shopping a device.

Related: Samsung is Working an Amazon Echo Rival

But some analysts and tech watchers contend it’s too shortly to count HomePod out. For one thing, a three-year-old marketplace is still really young. While sales of 15 million Amazon Echo units is a large number, as of final year there were about 125 million U.S. households. Second, Apple has prolonged been means to count on hardcore fans to buy a premium-priced products.

Don Reisinger, who covers inclination for Fortune, pronounced it’s formidable to sign what HomePod will finish adult being means to do formed merely on a discerning look Apple gave in June. Apple is notoriously tight-lipped about product features. The association also has a clever developer ecosystem that can do a lot to raise a HomePod experience.

Integrating HomePod with Apple TV, that streams video over a web to a TV or other screen, could be a win. That would capacitate Apple TV users to control their observation with voice commands instead of a remote, that some find annoying. And, there are many households where Apple is a elite code of laptop, tablet, and smartphone. Those consumers could be an easy sale for HomePod.

While Gartner (it) researcher Werner Goertz agrees that Amazon Echo’s marketplace share will make it harder for newer rivals to enter a arena, he agrees that there’s a bottom of Apple fans who will buy a device. Historically, Apple aficionados are fervent to compensate a reward for whatever a association builds, and HomePod will authority a reward cost of $349—nearly double a cost of Amazon Echo or Google Home.

But there are unknowns here too. It’s formidable to see how Apple can modify non-fanboys to HomePod. Many will expected cruise Amazon Echo to be good enough. Apple also has to make positively certain that Siri, that has been enclosed in Apple iPhones for years, performs good in a home setting.

Related: Amazon Echo Exec Exits

The HomePod orator will be heavier than Echo or Google Home, and Kevin Tofel, a tool fan and blogger, pronounced that means it will offer most improved sound. “I’m basing that simply off of physics: The heavier a magnets (and amps) in a speaker, a richer and some-more absolute a sound” Tofel he told Fortune around email. Tofel co-hosted a podcast on this subject recently.

At its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Apple did stress a HomePod’s sound peculiarity as a offered point.

The presumably bad news for HomePod is that an array of consumer wiring companies including Panasonic, JBL, and Onkyo, devise aloft finish speakers that will work with Alexa and Google Home. Those products might make Alexa or Google Home some-more savoury to a audiophiles among us and so turn some-more approach competitors to HomePod.

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