Here’s What an Amazon Exec Says About Apple’s HomePod
Apple on Monday fired a shot over Amazon’s smart home bow, but the e-commerce giant might not think it matters.
Speaking to USA Today in an interview published on Wednesday, Amazon senior vice president of devices David Limp seemed unmoved by Apple’s new smart home speaker HomePod. He told the newspaper that the HomePod is “a little different philosophically” from his own company’s Amazon Echo. While he didn’t discuss exactly how the devices differ, he told USA Today that the HomePod’s $349 price tag makes it substantially more expensive than his company’s alternatives, including the popular Amazon Echo.
“When people are starting to spend … hundreds of dollar per speaker, I think generally they’re going to want choice,” Limp said in the interview.
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Apple at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday unveiled the HomePod smart home speaker. The squat device comes with what Apple says, are high-powered speakers, and will support the company’s virtual personal assistant Siri to control smart home devices, like smart light bulbs and thermostats. Siri can also be employed to play songs through the company’s streaming service Apple Music.
While Apple (AAPL) didn’t mention any competitors by name during the event, the company’s HomePod has features that are strikingly similar to Amazon’s Echo, another smart home hub that has built-in speakers, is powered by a virtual assistant named Alexa, and can help users power the smart home.
However, the Amazon (AMZN) Echo costs $180. Apple’s HomePod will retail for $349 when it’s released later this year.
Another competitor, the Google Home (GOOGL), costs $129. It, too, comes with a built-in speaker and voice controls through the smart assistant Google Assistant. Google has so far not commented on HomePod.
Apple has in several areas, including smartphones and music players, joined markets after entrenched rivals and ultimately dominated them. And the company is attempting to do the same with the HomePod. But at least for now, Limp isn’t so sure a device that’s nearly twice as expensive as its popular Echo could achieve the same success.
That assessment won’t be put to the test until at least December, when Apple’s HomePod is released. Until then, Amazon will remain the smart home market’s most popular device maker.