Amazon’s next Echo could challenge HomePod on audio quality

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I sent the HomePod back, so I will keep using the single photo I took until somebody stops me.
An Amazon Echo for audiophiles? Yes please!
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Amazon’s Echo is annihilating Apple’s HomePod when it comes to smart speaker sales. But Jeff Bezos’ retail giant clearly knows a great idea when it sees one.

According to a new report, Amazon is developing a new Echo device that will measure up more favorably to Apple’s audiophile HomePod.

Apple still struggling to make a sound in Europe’s smart speaker market

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I sent the HomePod back, so I will keep using the single photo I took until somebody stops me.
Google and Amazon continue to lead.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

There’s a new challenger to the smart speaker throne — and, no, it’s not Apple’s HomePod.

According to the latest data from IDC, in Europe Google has overtaken Amazon as the market leader in smart speakers. Google Home devices accounted for 45.1% of shipped smart speakers in the region in Q1. That beats Amazon’s 41.8%. Apple’s HomePod doesn’t even even get a mention.

Smart speaker installed base could top 200 million this year

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HomePod Volume Controls
Perhaps a rising tide of smart speaker sales will help HomePod.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The number of smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo and Apple’s HomePod in use around the world is expected to keep growing strongly for years to come. It could pass 200 million in 2019, and pass 500 million in 2023.

Analysts from Canalys indicate the installed base of these devices is now surpassing the number of smartwatches in use. And smart speakers could even outnumber tablets before the end of 2021, they say.

HomePod will ‘gain traction’ in booming smart speaker market

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I sent the HomePod back, so I will keep using the single photo I took until somebody stops me.
HomePod is part of a growing product category.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The smart speaker market continues to explode — and Apple’s expected to carve out an ever-growing piece of it.

According to a new report published by IDC, the global smart speaker market will grow 26.9 percent in 2019. In total, the research firm thinks that 832.7 million total smart speakers will ship this year.

HomePod sold 1.6 million units over the holidays

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The HomePod is a lot smarter than you might think. Just take a look at these tips!
HomePod is Apple's take on the smart speaker.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker experienced 45 percent growth in the holiday quarter, according to new figures. Strategy Analytics’ report suggests that Apple sold 1.6 million HomePod speakers over the three month period.

Those numbers still put it firmly behind market leaders like Amazon and Google. Nonetheless, they show that Apple is continuing to benefit from the explosion of interest in smart speakers.

HomePod in China turns Siri into a storyteller

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HomePod in China
Siri and HomePod will oblige children in China when they ask for a story.
Photo: Apple

HomePod has a feature that is only available in China and could prove popular with busy parents and the kid who just wants to hear a story.

Apple’s version of a smart speaker made its debut in China and Hong Kong on Jan. 18 with the ability to command “Siri, tell me a story.”

Google Home tops Siri and HomePod in smart speaker test

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HomePod market share
It will be on sale “this summer.”
Photo: Apple

Apple may have been late to the smart speaker game but its HomePod is showing signs it could one day outperform them all.

But only if Apple gives Siri the power.

In Loup Ventures annual smart speaker comparisons, Google Assistant understood all 800 questions and answered nearly 88 percent of them correctly. In its first Loup Ventures test, the HomePod with Siri at the helm misunderstood just three questions and managed to answer correctly nearly 75 percent of its queries.

Why HomePod’s ‘Hey Siri’ will blow you away

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Siri speaker
The HomePod's ability to hear at full volume is one of the most impressive feats.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple pulled back the curtain on some of the most complicated features of its HomePod smart speaker this morning with a new blog post that details the machine learning tech that goes into its ‘Hey Siri’ detection.

One of the biggest challenges with making a smart speaker is not only figuring out what to listen for but also what sounds to discard in the process. Apple’s engineers have come up with a number of interesting methods to make Siri work even when you’re blasting tunes our of the HomePod’s speakers.