Apple’s HomePod smart speaker with Siri, its built-in voice assistant, is lagging behind its rivals – according to a new test.
Loup Ventures, a technology VC company, posed 782 questions to Siri, Alexa, Google Home and Cortana and compared the success rate of each answer. According to the research, HomePod was able to answer 52.3% of queries properly, compared to Google Home at 81%, Amazon Alexa at 64% and Cortana at 57%.
The Ambient's verdict: Apple HomePod review
Muster points to the lack of support for “domains like navigation, calendar, email, and calling.” He also found “Siri is particularly strong in Local (where can I find a good cup of coffee around here?) and Commerce (help me buy some new shoes.)”
Now we need to be careful. The author is Gene Munster, who has been described as a “long time Apple bull” (investor jargon for someone who regularly talks up a stock to increase its value) – and in places the report is very keen to place a massively positive spin on HomePod with very little supporting detail.
But there are some interesting details. Compared with another Loup Ventures test of Siri in January, it seems that there’s a heap of iOS Siri functionality that’s not made it to HomePod yet. That’s presumably because Siri often points you to a page of Google results, which the HomePod can’t.
The Loup Ventures report also made some interesting comparisons to demand of HomePod with the Apple Watch, which has also grown into a successful product for Apple from relatively slow beginnings. The following figures refer to Loup Ventures’ small sample of 500 respondents.
“Among those surveyed who already own an Apple product, 5.2% planned on buying a HomePod. This is similar to 7% of Apple product owners planned to buy an Apple Watch ahead of its launch in Spring of 2015 (survey was conducted in December of 2014, four months ahead of the Apple Watch launch),” the report reads.
And it goes on to estimate some first year sales, based on its survey.
“We estimate in its first 12 months Apple sold 10.2m Watches at an ASP of $475. This compares to our first 12 months of HomePod sales estimate of 7 million units with an ASP of $349,” wrote Munster.
That would give HomePod a 12% market share at the end of 2018 – which given the rampant pace of adoption of Alexa and Google Assistant, you’d expect Apple to be quite happy with, and again, could be argued to be fairly optimistic.
It’s an interesting report that, once you cut through some of the bullish jargon, shows that Apple has the building blocks for success in the smart speaker race. Our review is due to drop this week where we’ll be putting Siri through its paces.