HomePod: More Sonos Than Alexa?

Just yesterday, I shared some thoughts on the timing of what has been announced as HomePod:

Apple could pre-announce it at WWDC, and ship it in the coming weeks or months. If it comes with SiriKit support, and if Apple expands that in iOS 11, does it make sense to launch it now with SiriKit being limited to such a small handful of app categories in iOS 10?

Apple did pre-announce the device. It will go on sale — for $349 — in December.

Apple put a Sonos speaker and an Echo on a slide in the keynote, building the case that a product in this category should sound great and be smart.

I have no doubt Apple’s product will sound good. A good section of its time on stage was about the various components in its audio system. Most of the product’s webpage is dedicated to the tech within the small cylinder.

When it comes to smarts, I’m not convinced Apple has done enough to take on the Echo.

Siri is onboard, ready to do almost anything you ask when it comes to Apple Music. Past that, the HomePod can be used with HomeKit devices. Apple’s has limited Siri on the device to domains Apple knows well: News, Messages, Podcasts, Stocks, Weather, Reminders, alarms, timers, sports and traffic.

There is no third-party app support for HomePod at this time. The Echo and Google Home both have a growing library of third-party apps that can provide content and skills to the user.

I assume that third-party support will come in the future. Apple’s playing it slow with SiriKit, but I’d like to see things move forward more aggressively.