When HomePod was announced at WWDC in June, it seemed like Apple was finally jumping head first into the smart speaker race. Introduced as a coveted “one last thing,” Tim Cook and Phil Schiller extolled the devices music playback abilities, saying HomePod was going to “reinvent the way we enjoy music in the home” in a device that combined the fidelity of Sonos with the fun of an Amazon Echo.
Like many others, I wanted to believe that pristine music quality was just one of many features Apple was bringing to the smart speaker space. But as more details begin to trickle out about Apple’s plans for HomePod, it’s becoming clear that the new device is more of a voice-controlled speaker than a true Echo competitor. While HomePod will work with HomeKit to control smart home devices and respond to general knowledge queries, it doesn’t appear as though it will break any ground that Google Home and Amazon Echo hasn’t already broken.