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Apple’s HomePod is here, but Siri lovers aren’t at home with it

Vishal Krishna
9th Feb 2018
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Critics say Apple’s answer to the Amazon Echo and Google Home held much more promise, but the tech giant has not unlocked its full potential.

The war for the home assistant or the “AI voice that talks to you” and performs tasks for you has begun. Apple released its HomePod this week to much fanfare. The release pits it directly against Amazon's Echo, based on Alexa, and Google Home, which have already made enormous waves and garnered positive reviews.

Unfortunately, critics are already panning Apple’s HomePod and are calling them a missed opportunity. Writers from New York Times have said “no one has to rush to buy the Home Pod”. Going by what critics are saying in the US, Apple could face similar criticism in other markets. But Apple believes it is a hit.

“HomePod is a magical new music experience from Apple. It brings advanced audio technologies like beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer, and automatic spatial awareness, together with the entire Apple Music catalogue, and the latest Siri intelligence, in a simple, beautiful design that is so much fun to use,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing.

“We’re so excited for people to get HomePod into their homes, apartments, and businesses to hear it for themselves. We think they will be blown away by the audio quality. The team has worked to give Siri a deeper knowledge of music so that you can ask her to play virtually anything from your personal favorites to the latest chart-topping releases, simply by saying ‘Hey Siri’.”

Not like Siri

However, critics say Siri held much more promise, but Apple does not seem to have unlocked its full potential. The product is less of its former self, say reports. For example, if you asked Siri in the past “great places to eat or play my favourite music”, it would be on the money about these things. Unfortunately, the current product does not seem like Siri at all. Those of us who have seen the Muppets ad of Apple and Siri would fall in love with it instantly because of the smart technology.

However, over the last year or so, Google and Amazon's engineering have become more appealing to customers. The voice assistants are not only smart, but are very human. That said, Siri is also an AI engine and is constantly learning. All it requires is someone to turn its light back on to its former self.

Apple led the race to the voice-based assistant seven years ago, and Siri was an app. From there it leap frogged to become the most-loved features on the Apple phone. Unfortunately the same intelligence was not transferred to the home device, but it might soon.

What can HomePod do?

HomePod is a convenient way to send messages, set timers and reminders, check the weather, and listen to shows on Apple Podcasts. The latest business news, headlines and sports updates stream directly to HomePod from NPR, CNN, ESPN, and others. HomePod can also be used as a speakerphone with iPhone for crisp and clear audio quality.

With support for HomeKit, HomePod can control hundreds of home accessories or set scenes like, “Hey Siri, I’m home” to control a number of different accessories at the same time. It can turn on the lights, raise the shades, set the desired temperature, or make other adjustments. It is the perfect home hub enabler, with remote access and automations.

The battle for the voice assistant is scaling heights. Who will win? Like YourStory has said in the past, the new nations will not be politically run states, but will be run by those who own public data like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple. So Siri will definitely have a big part to play.

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