Does the HomePod Have a Reason to Exist?

When Siri launched with the iPhone 4s in 2011, Apple promised it would be it would take over the world. But its competitors quickly caught up. Within a few years, Google, Amazon, and even Microsoft all had their own digital assistants on the market, and, what’s more, they were better Siri. Today, the smart home is a rapidly growing market, with thousands of devices from thousands of companies, forming a tight-knit ecosystem with one device at the center: the smart speaker. As the smart home market began to emerge, Google and Amazon quickly got to work on their own smart speakers, soon after introducing their Google Home and Amazon Echo speakers respectively. However, Apple took more time to produce their offering, and when Apple’s smart speaker, the HomePod, finally came to market, Google and Amazon were already well established forces within the space. To add insult to injury, Siri had not improved much since its initial release, whereas Google’s assistant and Amazon’s Alexa had continuously received update after update, making Apple’s Siri pale in comparison. So the HomePod had an uphill fight leading up to its release, and, when that release finally came (after one delay), the Apple HomePod was met with mixed reactions. Consumers gawked at the hefty price tag, which put the HomePod several hundred dollars above its competitors, with notably less functionality. Even today, the HomePod lags behind Google’s and Amazon’s offerings in terms of sales, and while it wasn’t a flop, it can’t really be considered a massive success. So does the HomePod have a reason to exist? Well yes, but that doesn’t mean you should by it. It all has to do with the reason Siri is so “bad” in comparison to Google Assistant and Alexa, and, as an extension, why the HomePod is lacking so much functionality in comparison to the Google Home and Amazon Echo. The reason why these other digital assistants and the speakers they run on are so powerful and fast is because Google and Amazon use user experience and data to improve them, completely compromising their user’s security and privacy. Apple doesn’t do this, and this is why Siri lacks so much functionality in comparison. We need the HomePod not for what it is, but for what it represents. The HomePod is the last secure smart speaker on the market, and if we continue to use it, it will get better, until it is one day just as fast as Google and Amazon’s speakers, and ten times as secure.

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