Apple claims the HomePod promises to mix the smart features of the above speakers with great sound quality. Here we pit the three devices against each other in all the key categories.

At the World Wide Developers Conference, Phil Schiller, the head of Apple's marketing, said the HomePod's data would be encrypted, but he did not go into detail.

The Apple HomePod has seven tweeter speakers and one woofer placed inside a rather round and squarish casing.

Apple will release the HomePod in December for a whopping $349. The Echos are quite functional and affordable, and are already established in the market as top-selling products.

The Home and Echo also include mute buttons. It's more than a speaker, though, as it can tell you the news and weather, or control connected home electronics like lighting or shades.

Google Home, the smart speaker with Google Assistant built in, becomes officially available and supported in Canada on June 26, for $179. As The Wall Street Journal reports, Siri's progress has been slowed for a number of reasons, including the departures of some Siri team members and a slow pace of innovation (possibly due to the fact that the iPhone is still Apple's flagship product). Alexa and Google Assistant don't have those limitations. "That kind of conversational compatibility could enable users to access both functions" sets of downloadable capabilities, which Amazon refers to as "skills".

"With Apple acquiring Bowers & Wilkins talent to develop AirPods, it's clear they are taking audio more seriously". More importantly, why is Apple giving Amazon and Google such a long runway to improve their next line of products or push major updates? Whether this can turn into reality is something that we'll just have to wait out and see. Until then, Amazon will remain the smart home market's most popular device maker.

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The Amazon Echo and Google Home are adequate speakers for the price point, but music lovers can connect them to Bluetooth speakers for better sound.

Like devices by Amazon and Google, the HomePod can make music suggestions and adjust home temperatures.

When Apple executive Phil Schiller first announced the HomePod on stage at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), he stood in front of images of Amazon Echo and Sonos and said, "None of the other companies have quite nailed it".

What was perhaps most interesting was how much more powerful the HomePod sounded in relation to the dedicated speaker also in the room - a Sonos Play:3. That's different for the Echo, where you need an Amazon account - which has a user's credit card information and shipping address.

Apple wants the HomePod to be hard to classify.

So is the HomePod a glorified smart speaker? Google is making huge strides forward in AI and natural language understanding, and of course knows more about you than Apple or Amazon, which helps with personalisation.


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