On Tuesday, Apple held its annual hardware keynote to showcase the company’s new device offerings – especially the iPhone. Among the several announcements were indeed new iPhones, along with new Apple watches, an aggressively priced new iPad along with with subscription services Apple Arcade and Netflix rival Apple TV .
Smart speaker missing. Glaringly absent was a refreshed HomePod or smart display or lower-priced smart speaker. And, unless I completely missed it, there was nary a mention of Siri other than a brief cameo in the keynote’s opening video.
In marked contrast, the day before Apple’s keynote, Google pushed out its appealing (albeit awkwardly named) Google Nest Hub Max. The larger-screen device features video calling, improved sound, a Nest cam and a range of other useful features. It’s the most ambitious and functional of the growing Google Home product lineup, and it’s also reasonably priced at $229.
Meanwhile, Google and Amazon competing furiously. Google now offers a growing number of smart speakers and displays: Google Home Mini, Google Home, Google Home Max, Google Nest Hub (formerly Home Hub) and the aforementioned Nest Hub Max. These present a number of different price points, features and use cases — all equipped with Google Assistant. For its part Amazon has an even wider array of Alexa-powered devices.
Apple HomePod launched, late to the market, in 2017. However, it missed the holiday shopping season and didn’t ship until February 2018. It initially retailed for $349 but Apple lowered the price in April this year in the face of soft demand and more aggressively priced rivals.
U.S. smart speaker market share (August, 2019)