With the Apple HomePod speaker system having finally been released, now is the ideal time to make the Apple HomePod vs. Amazon Echo vs. Google Home comparison. It is notable that the three mega-corporations have all released speaker systems, but how do they stack up against one another?
The Apple HomePod vs. Amazon Echo vs. Google Home battle begins with the artificial intelligence capabilities of the three speakers. Amazon essentially created this whole new category of products with the Amazon Echo released back into 2014, and thus the system from the world’s largest retailer has had a a few years head start over its competitors, and certainly the Apple HomePod.
Amazon Echo essentially houses Alexa, the personal assistant developed by the huge company. Google’s Assistant is also found on its smartphones, while Apple naturally enough relies on the Siri system that is resident in the iconic iPhone series.
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With this being central to the speaker systems, each assistant is more than adequate, but each carries its own advantages and disadvantages. In particular, those who already own Android devices will definitely benefit from the Google Assistant, and the ability to collaborate with other Android-driven hardware.
However, Alexa delivers a more flexible package than either the Google Assistant or Apple HomePod. Building on the artificial intelligence capabilities that Google has promoted so strongly recently, it is disappointing that the Google Assistant has a smaller number of actions available compared to the Amazon system.
Apple’s Siri has fallen a little behind the pack in this department, although the consumer electronics giant is largely pushing its speaker system as a music playback device. But it must be said that the Amazon device delivers the best AI capabilities.
Smart home features are another key front in the Apple HomePod vs. Amazon Echo vs. Google Home comparison, and one of the most compelling reasons to shell out for a smart speaker. Each of these devices is compatible with three major ecosystems, meaning that smart home support is pretty standard across the device range.
However, Nest is only compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, while Samsung SmartThings, also only works with Google Assistant and Alexa. Again, it would be reasonable to say that Apple doesn’t quite keep up with the competition in this department.
Digital interaction is another key area of the Apple HomePod vs. Amazon Echo vs. Google Home war, and again one that the Amazon device deals with particularly capably. Although all three speakers enable key functions such as checking weather conditions, setting times and alarms, voice calling, and other basic features to be carried out smoothly, there is still room for improvement in both the Apple and Google systems.
Another feature that both the Google Home and Amazon Echo deliver that is absent in the Apple device is the ability to utilize the speaker as an intercom. Those homes with more than one Google or Amazon speaker can utilize them to broadcast a message, which will play across any Echo or Home device located within your dwelling. This is a nifty feature which hopefully Apple will provide at a later date, although the cost of the HomePod would make acquiring multiple units prohibitive.
Voice recognition is obviously critical in any Apple HomePod vs. Amazon Echo vs. Google Home comparison, and it will be disappointing for potential Apple consumers that Siri is somewhat behind the other two intelligent operating systems here as well. Amazon and Google have had longer to establish voice recognition in their devices, thus it is perhaps not surprising that the Apple HomePod is inferior in quality here.
There is no doubt that Google has a big advantage over the other two competitors thanks to its emphasis on searching, and this is indeed reflected in the performance of its system. Thanks to the massive knowledge base that the Google Home system has access to, the Google speaker outperforms the Amazon Echo, answering all manner of questions with surprising accuracy.
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.
With the Apple HomePod seemingly struggling to compete with the other two speakers on an even footing, it is important to emphasize at this point that this speaker does have its advantages in the Apple HomePod vs. Amazon Echo vs. Google Home war.
Above all else, the Apple HomePod is armed with six outstanding speakers, meaning that the music playback capabilities of the intelligent Apple speaker system is far superior to either the Amazon Echo or Google Home. Indeed, it could be argued that the Amazon HomePod is really being marketed as a music playback system with some AI functionality included, rather than the assistant-emphasis that both Amazon and Google have made with their products.
Indeed, the Apple HomePod is an excellent standalone speaker system, and could be purchased for this reason alone. However, coupled with the more than a decent AI functionality that Apple has built into the HomePod, this means that the device becomes an intriguing purchase for consumers, even if it doesn’t quite match up to the competition in some departments. It can be said with some confidence that the gulf in music playback is bigger than the gap between AI capabilities, meaning that Apple gives with one hand arguably more than it takes away with the other.
Pricing is obviously particularly important in the Apple HomePod vs. Amazon Echo vs. Google Home comparison, and it should thus be noted that the Apple HomePod is considerably more expensive than either of the other two ecosystems. This is hardly surprising considering the exalted speaker system included in the Apple device, but the $349 price tag is far more than the $99 that the Amazon Echo retails for, or the $130 of the Google Home.
Consumers wanting the best music playback will opt for the HomePod, advanced AI features are delivered by the Google Home system, while the Amazon Echo looks to be the value for money buy of the three.