HomePod is scheduled to be released by the end of the year or until next year, this should be a great opportunity for Apple to seize the smart speaker market.
Recently, an article by BloombergReportedDisclosure of the Apple HomePod development process. In fact, HomePod has taken more than 5 years from development to production & mdash; & nbsp; Earliest, HomePod is just an amateur project of Apple employees.
Apple staff amateur project, a prototype of a meter high
now,Apple's official websiteHomePod on display is a humble little guy, about 6.8 inches high (about 17 cm) tall, 5.6 inches in diameter (about 14 cm), with black and white two colors, the grid body with a conspicuous apple LOGO nothing.
At first, HomePod is not designed this way. Near Apple Cupertino headquarters, there is an office building called Valley Green 1, one of which is filled with a variety of HomePod prototypes. In the past few years developing HomePod, Apple's designers have done various attempts.
There is a prototype that looks like a tablet with a mesh screen in front of it; there's a prototype one meter tall, five times the size of the HomePod now, with dozens of speakers built in; and Apple also considers HomePod Beats label, and even designed a colorful body for HomePod.
In the end, these ideas have been abandoned. From the very beginning, HomePod's core philosophy is that it has only one "beamforming" technology that creates an immersive 3D audio experience.
According to Apple's official website, HomePod equipped with 7 "beam-shaped" tweeter, you can accurately detect the indoor environment. With this technology, HomePod can receive user voice commands and deliver the best playback quality no matter where the user indoors.
(Beam forming concept demo, Image Source:Apple)
Recently released Sonos One, Google Home Max and other smart speaker products are also equipped with a similar technology, Amazon Echo is the use of this technology for radio, so that users no matter where in the room can be issued to Echo voice commands.
As early as 2012 iPhone 5 released, Apple made the concept of HomePod internally. A group of Mac audio engineers hope to create a fever-class product comparable to big-name audio vendors such as Bose, JBL, Harman & middot; in technology companies such as Apple and Google, as long as you can promise to do their job, Companies will encourage employees to do some part-time projects.
(HomePod internal structure, Photo Source:Apple)
Amazon main hit smart, apple return music
In the first two years of HomePod's development, the project was restarted several times over and over again. Until 2014, HomePod was formally established, under Apple's accessories department, code-named "B238", where is the birth of AirPods.
Amazon officially released in the HomePod officially this year, Amazon suddenly released Amazon Echo. The HomePod team was taken aback by this smart speaker with voice assistant. However, Apple engineers dismantled Echo after that, this product is not superior sound quality, and HomePod can do better.
What Apple Engineers did not realize was that Amazon Echo was not a musical product at all, but a product of Amazon's search for AR technology.
(Amazon Echo, Source:Amazon)
According to Bloomberg NewsWhen the hardware division inside Amazon was simultaneously developing Smartphone Fire Phone and another AR product. Unfortunately, not long after the project started, the AR product was aborted, and the project team staff was reorganized and joined another product team, Amazon Echo, later on for an Amazon hardware division employee:
Jeff (Amazon CEO) has a vision, he hopes the product can take care of all aspects of the user's shopping process.
It is precisely because Jeff? Bezos's obsession, voice assistant Alexa's performance will be so outstanding, as Amazon Echo a big selling point.
When Amazon Echo went public, Apple's own voice assistant Siri was released for more than three years, no longer as useless as it was when it first went public in 2011, but the Siri team was not deeply involved in the development of HomePod.
In fact, when you let HomePod open a third-party application by voice, the request is not sent to the cloud, but to the iPhone.
At this stage, HomePod more like an iPhone accessories. Developers can not develop applications specifically for the HomePod, HomePod can only be adapted through the iPhone's App. Apple's HomePod interface control is quite strict, currently only supports the news, reminders and notes three functions.
In contrast, HomePod's opponents are much smarter.
Amazon Echo has long formed a single ecosystem that supports more than 7,000 apps and you can practice yoga with Echo Shopping, Taxi, Takeaway and even Voice Commands. Amazon also open Alexa voice assistant to other hardware manufacturers, Sonos, Lenovo and other companies have introduced equipped with Alexa smart speaker products.
Google's three smart speaker products are equipped with Google Assistant, you can search, buy tickets, control smart home products; even the domestic Xiaomi AI speakers, Lynx X1 are compatible with their products.
(HomePod, Google Home, Amazon Echo)
Obviously, HomePod positioning is not personal voice assistant, but high-end wireless speakers.Bloomberg learned from insidersApple plans to ship 4 million HomePods in 2018. This is an ambitious figure, you know, Amazon Echo listed more than three years, the cumulative sales of only 15 million units.
This is not Apple's first attempt at speaker products. As early as 2006, Apple introduced an iPod-compatible stereo iPod HiFi that costs $ 349 the same as HomePod. Unfortunately, the sales situation is not satisfactory, a year and a half after the market hastily ended.
(IPod HiFi, Picture Source:Apple)
HomePod is not so much the field of intelligent speaker followers, it is better that HomePod is a return to Apple's music products. As for the HomePod whether blockbuster, only to wait until 2018 to see the outcome.