Forgive me, Apple public relations department. I’m putting words in your mouth. Yet, it should be obvious that the technology battle for the home hasn’t really started yet, despite the jockeying for position among industry heavyweights.
If you want to know about the home battleground then don’t read digital technology trade rags such as ZDNet because what they publish is more hearsay and opinion than it is fact. What you will see is a gaggle of technology devices that want to be installed and used in your home, but no clear leader anywhere in sight. When Apple enters the home in a big way, the battle will have begun.
Amazon v. Google
You’re reading Mac360 so you’re interested in Apple products and apps for Apple products and a little perspective and opinion from a few writers with some skin in the game. When you read elsewhere you’ll be treated to the aforementioned hearsay and here’s a good example.
Who is tops in the home? Amazon and Google.
Quick. Do you use an Amazon or Google product in your home? And by product I mean something other than a Kindle ebook reader, Google Maps, or Nest.
Other than Apple TV, what other electronic devices do you have? You know, like a home alarm system, or wireless light switches, or a Wi-Fi network?
Google has finally unveiled its smart speaker for the connected home, Google Home, which it hopes will take on the current incumbent — Amazon’s Echo.
Apple doesn’t have a product quite like Echo, which uses Alexa to match what Siri does on iPhone and iPad, Apple TV, and now Watch and the Mac. It’s a so-called artificial intelligent assistant. Google Home and Amazon Echo are cute little boxes with microphone and speaker that help to make the two companies the leaders in home gadgets.
That leadership is hearsay.
unverified, unofficial information gained or acquired from another and not part of one’s direct knowledge:
I pay no attention to hearsay.
an item of idle or unverified information or gossip; rumor:
a malicious hearsay.
of, relating to, or characterized by hearsay:
hearsay knowledge; a hearsay report.
What you won’t find anywhere on planet earth are verifiable numbers or facts to back up Amazon’s crown or Google’s challenge, Chromecast notwithstanding.
The reality is this. Amazon and Google are players in home technology, but there are no clear leaders at all, and no one is on top of the crowded field. Apple has a growing presence, of course, and takes a different approach to Amazon’s Echo, but this is a war that hasn’t started, and whatever battles there are have yet to materialize in the marketplace.
Apple’s Home Presence
Our favorite Mac and iPhone maker has two integrated approaches to conquering the future of the home. Macs, iPhone, iPad, Watch, and Apple TV as hardware, and HomeKit, Apple’s framework to communicate and connect home accessories.
What sets Apple apart from Amazon should be obvious. Amazon doesn’t sell many branded products that can be used to help automate the home. Echo and the smaller, less expensive Echo Dot are branded. The former is more expensive than Apple TV and the latter is new and priced at $50. What do these devices do? Sit around and wait for your voice commands.
You know, pretty much like Siri on Mac, iPhone, iPad, Watch, and Apple TV. See? Apple has a presence in the home already, and it seems to be doing well in the numbers game since there are over 1-billion iOS and OS X devices in the world, and Amazon is so proud of their Echo they won’t tell anyone how many they sold.
What is Google Home?
Google Home is a voice-enabled wireless speaker developed by Google, announced on May 18, 2016, at Google I/O. It is Google’s first smart speaker developed, as well as one of the current devices that will run Google Assistant.
Sounds like Amazon’s Echo.
The product is similar to the Amazon Echo, making it a direct competitor in the smart speaker industry. It will be released on November 4th, 2016. It will be priced at $129 U.S.
This battle between Amazon and Google and Apple doesn’t really seem to have gotten off to a great start since Amazon won’t say how many devices they’ve sold, Google hasn’t sold any such devices, and Apple has more than a billion Siri-active devices already shipped with multiple units in the home already, plus an App Store for Apple TV, and a growing number of apps that help to automate the aforementioned home with a variety of home accessories.
Other than for Apple and a number of home accessory makers, I guess the war is on but the battles haven’t really started yet. I wonder if the writers at ZDNet know that.