Las Vegas is my home. Well, it was my home, but my parents still live there, so we make the SFO to LAS trek a few times a year; sometimes we stay at home, other times we hit the strip to bathe a bit in luxury.
Our latest journey gave us a few nights at the humongous Wynn Las Vegas, the same place where Amazon and Wynn plan to install an Amazon Echo in all of the hotel’s 4,748 rooms. The Echo has been a huge success for Amazon and they’ve sold a few million already. How many of a similar device has Apple sold?
Apple To Apples
Amazon’s Echo is a rather interesting and sometimes useful device and I can see why Wynn Las Vegas wants to install it for guests; and why Amazon will be only too happy to help out. That’s 4,748 rooms, with guests staying perhaps three days, which means somewhere around 500,000 to a million or two people will get to see the Echo in action (assuming 100-percent usability and occupancy.).
Echo, installed appropriately into each room, could make the vacation experience even better. Use the voice controls to turn on and play select channels on TV, adjust the air conditioning temperature, open and close the curtains, maybe even call for room service, or have a valet deliver a car. Echo is good at such things.
What we don’t know yet is how Echo will work at Wynn Las Vegas. After all, Echo users need an Amazon account, but let’s assume Amazon and Wynn have worked out some kind of enterprise usability platform which is tied to each room instead of a person’s account. That makes more sense and I like the idea and look forward to using it the next time I plant to lose money in Las Vegas.
What bothers me about such an arrangement is this. Math. Amazon Echo is an interesting, sometimes useful voice activated device which works much like Siri on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Watch. Ask questions, get answers. Make requests, get responses and some action. Both are good at what they do, and both have weaknesses, but the math bothers me.
Amazon Echo proponents and Apple critics seem to think the few million Echo devices that may have sold in the past couple of years constitutes a new technology success for Amazon, yet somehow, the 15-million or so Apple Watch models sold to date is a failure, a flub, a misstep, a dud.
Hello? Math much, people? Apple’s revenue alone for Watch might be ten times Echo’s total revenue, especially more so with less expensive Echo models out now. What gives with that kind of analysis? And the math? Ugh.
While both Echo and Siri have their benefits and drawbacks and similarities, there is one more glaring piece of math that should stare us in the face. Siri runs on about 1-billion Apple devices. Echo? Most members of the Guesstimator’s Club say Amazon has sold a few million. That’s million. That makes a successful product in Amazon-land. A billion devices running Siri is what? Not a success? And of those billion or so devices that run Siri, the vast majority of them do exactly what Amazon’s Echo does not. Travel easily. iPhones, iPad, and Watch are portable and ubiquitous.
Echo ranges in price from about $40 to $140, depending on model, and to use it anywhere power isn’t, requires another $50 battery base. Siri, meanwhile, is built-in to every new Mac running macOS Sierra, and in most iPhones and iPads for years, hence the 1-billion devices.
Methinks critics are exercising a double standard when it comes to comparing Apple to apples.