Mac O’Clock
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Meet the Newest Member of Your Household — HomePod

The device that will subtly settle in with your family

Apple is often chided for its supposed “Lack of innovation”.

The iPhone for example has lagged behind the competition in bringing features like 5G, wireless charging and NFC to market.

Despite these drawbacks, we find that Apple has a 46% market share of smartphones in the US with Samsung coming in a distant 2nd at 25% according to research by Counterpoint. Shocking, for a company that finds it so hard to innovate! Apple’s success has its endeavor to do be the best in the market rather than the first to market.

A similar story can be written about HomePod — a seemingly uninspired device that has been left behind the wake of Amazon’s Echo range of smart speakers and Google’s Google Home devices.

2020 Smart Speaker Market Share by Brand

As the fight to capture users’ living rooms intensifies, Apple has upped the ante with HomePod mini. The new hardware in the Mini complemented by the corresponding software updates bring deep integration into their existing ecosystem rather than being ‘just another device’ in the users home.

There are several features of the HomePod mini that position it to become a runaway success:

Price

At $99 the HomePod mini is definitely a bargain when compared to many other speaker systems out there. It also brings a steep reduction from the $300 full-sized HomePod which was a deterrent for many

Intercom

This was probably the most exciting announcement outside of the price of the device. Intercom is really a testament to the way Apple is able to integrate all their devices into the tightly knit ecosystem they operate.

Users will be able to record a message on the HomePod and ‘Intercom’ it to the other members of their family. This message will play into AirPods, show up as a push notification on iPhone / iPad and even notify those in the car through CarPlay.

Personal Updates

HomePod knows that multiple people live in the same household and can now detect which individual is interacting with the device at any time. HomePod will give each user a personalized update tailored to the individual speaking to it.

CarPlay Integration

When users ask HomePod about the traffic on a route or if a particular store is still open, they will automatically get a Siri suggestion with driving directions to their required destinations when they start their cars.

UWB Integration

One key integration in the HomePods is the addition of the Ultra-Wide Band chips that help interact with other, nearby devices.

Crudely put, this upgrade can help the device locate your iPhone, know to switch the lights on/off when you enter or leave the room and unlock your car as you walk up to it.

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Rushabh Mehta

Rushabh Mehta

Putting a light touch… to heavy tech topics