There wasn’t much surprise yesterday with Apple’s release of a new voice speaker. Based on price point and the focus of the device, the most serious threat from the device is to Sonos. Sonos’ Play1 is about the same size, is WiFi connected, and is modelled marketed to the same group. However, the Sonos still lacks any voice interaction, despite announcements awhile back about Alexa integration.
The market for the HomePod is definitely the Apple fanbase. It will be for less tech savvy households and like with other Apple product markets, for those focused on design and aesthetics (and acoustics). It might even be that the device is used much more as a home speaker than it is as a voice interactive device.
It’s a cliche for Apple to come out with a device that does what’s already in the market and then get both lauded for it and get huge market adoption after a short period. While the iPhone was definitely revolutionary in capacitive touch, the HomePod is more of a me too. But I won’t denigrate it too much.
What the release of the HomePod might indicate is that there is a market out there for high end speakers with voice interaction. This will be possible with both AVS and Google Assistant so we should be on the lookout for these over the next year.