Apple has received FCC approval for their long-awaited HomePod device. As Mac Rumors mentions, the approval means that Apple is free to begin selling the device at any time. This is good news for those who were “outraged” when Apple announced they were delaying the product back in November.
Apple claimed that it needed a little more time before the HomePod was ready for its customers. Instead of berating Apple, critics should have praised the Cupertino company, who has been, for the most part, an expert on quality control. Instead of releasing a product with many glitches just so they could make a lot of holiday money, Apple waited. Of course, it’s true that Apple can also afford to delay a major product.
Apple claims the HomePod is a “breakthrough speaker all around.” It not only has a woofer, but seven tweeters to produce consistent 360 degree audio. When you place the HomePod in any room, it allegedly automatically analyzes the acoustics, adjusts the sound based on the speaker’s location, and steers music in an optimal direction.
Of course, the HomePod is also an assistant — a direct competitor to the Amazon Echo or Google Home devices. It works with Siri, the most loved digital assistant in the world, even though she certainly isn’t perfect. In order for companies to make their products compatible with the HomePod, they have to make them (or re-release them) with an MFi chip.
One can legitimately argue that Apple may be a little late to the market with the HomePod, especially since both Google and Amazon’s assistants have already taken residence in a lot of homes. Amazon’s Echo line, which uses Alexa as their assistant, has already set the standard in the way Apple used to with their products.
Amazon’s Echo allows you to play music, get directions, order an Uber, order from Amazon, return to Amazon, and do a bunch of other things. Of course, you can do the same thing you can with your phone, but there’s nothing cooler than being in the kitchen and then talking to Alexa like she is a true human. There is no button you need to press.
Google’s Home devices have earned high marks from critics, even if they don’t sell like Amazon’s. Last spring, CNET gave the original Home device four stars, especially complimenting how Home integrates with Google Calendar, Maps, and Chromecast. They really liked the way Home integrates with your digital music or video library.
Apple will likely take the best aspect of the Echo and Home, perfect them, and make millions rush to the Apple Store in order to get a HomePod, even if they don’t really need it. Apple may be late to the game, but they could make the other home assistants irrelevant. We will find out very soon.