19th February 2018
 

Smart speakers are taking over as homes become more digital. Consumers are including voice controlled, artificial intelligence (AI) in their daily lives. Leading the way is Amazon with its Echo speaker, followed by Google and Microsoft. Apple have also entered the market with the HomePod. Although it is another technological achievement from the company, it simply isn’t living up to the competition.

Embracing Artificial Intelligence

Consumers of home speakers aren’t just concerned with the quality of sound, but also the usefulness of the AI assistant. Users want to ask their smart systems to play music, check weather reports, set timers or create reminders. The ability to do this is based on what other technology the assistant can link to.

The HomePod has entered a market that is already busy with smart speakers. Arguably the most famous speaker now is Amazon’s Echo, with the AI assistant Alexa. Amazon allowed a variety of programmers to write programmes for its smart speaker, resulting in Alexa having over 25,000 specific capabilities.

The system can complete actions like reading recipes, ordering takeaway, turn on the lights or even tell jokes. The depth of Alexa’s capabilities is mostly because it was the first smart speaker released, but Amazon enabled the creation of these skills because the company allowed various programmers to contribute.

For other smart speakers, the ability to connect to various devices is also an important factor. The Google Assistant can link to multiple Google accounts as well as android phones. Microsoft’s Cortana Assistant also has similar capabilities but isn’t as advanced as Amazon and Google.

Apple has chosen to take a different approach, with hopes of allowing consumers to spend money when using their smart speakers. This tactic has been adopted by many other Apple products and has proven successful so far.

The HomePod isn’t Living Up to the Competition

Although the HomePod demonstrates advanced technology, it isn’t as established as other models of smart speaker. The AI assistant Siri has far fewer abilities than Alexa, Google Assistant and Cortana. Furthermore, the HomePod only works with a small number of third-party apps.

Apple may have the technological and financial ability to overtake the competition, but the way their HomePod system operates could seriously hinder this. Whilst the other smart speakers are available on various operating systems and devices and they are available to as many users as possible, Apple is struggling in comparison.

The Siri AI assistant is only available for other Apple products. Additionally, any software makers have to custom develop their products for the Apple platform and can’t make them available for multiple devices. Moreover, the most basic model of the Amazon Echo is available for £40, compared to the £252 for the HomePod.

A Bleak Outlook For Apple if they Don’t Change Their Tactics

The market for smart speakers is relatively new and each company have their advantages. What Amazon, Google and Microsoft all have in common is that they are much more accessible and better value than Apple. Apple hasn’t really taken note of what consumers are looking for and why these consumers are turning to the company’s competitors. If Apple insist on making its system exclusive to its own company, it won’t succeed in this market.