Amazon Continues to Dominate U.S. Smart Speaker Market

H.E. Pennypacker

macrumors 6502
Oct 23, 2017
357
868
NYC
If Apple ready decides this is a market they want, I would not rule them out quite yet. The question is, how important is it to Apple? Speakers, probably not. Siri interface? Probably yes.
If Apple decided to work with amazon and incorporate Alexa into their eco system they will gain customer share. It’s actually quite simple.
 
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jerryk

macrumors 603
Nov 3, 2011
5,486
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SF Bay Area
I know a lot of Amazon sales are the cheap Dots. I have 6 of them myself.

But, Amazon has really upped it's game in sound quality. The $75 Echo v3 has pretty amazing sound from 2 speakers, and is full and rich. While not as room filling as the larger 5 speaker $199 Echo Studio, it still sounds great in my 20 X 15 family room.

And it's query capabilities do not match the Google speakers, but are sufficient to answer 98% of my normal questions.

So while it is not the best any one category, but does them all well.
 
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jlc1978

macrumors 68020
Aug 14, 2009
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As they should.

Not even factoring in special priced deals, Amazon offers:

Decent speakers for $79, good speakers for $119, and excellent speakers for $199. Even the latest Echo Dot has halfway decent sound for $29.

Apple completely priced themselves out of the market with the $349 price tag.
My thoughts as well. I have one of the cheapest Echo Dots that I got with a months subscription to Amazon Music for a total cost of $9; and it is quite fine for playing music in the kitchen. I also have a small Echo show in my office that is quite fine for streaming radio stations and music. Certainly nowhere near what a Homepod sounds like, but certainly a good value for the money.

Not everyone is willing to pay for, or even wants, really good sound but is happy with acceptable soound for 1/2 or 1/3 or even less money. Siri is pretty hit or miss and for most people I would guess once the novelty wears off they barely use it.
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If Apple decided to work with amazon and incorporate Alexa into their eco system they will gain customer share. It’s actually quite simple.
I'm not so sure. What would a $300 HomePod do too make it preferable to a much cheaper Amazon alternative for someone who wants search capability?
 
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richman20

macrumors newbie
May 21, 2014
21
28
We have a few of these devices. I don't find them particularly useful. I ask it for weather info and to play music every once in a while. I could easily do these things on my phone. What are people using these for that make them a must have?
 

Hmac

macrumors 68020
May 30, 2007
2,130
4
Midwest USA
Apple thought all we wanted was great speakers to play our music. They were obviously wrong, and built their "intelligent assistant" around Siri, an implementation that is exceptionally lame. I'll never have a HomePod because the Echo is a good enough speaker for me and Alexa is actually helpful, whereas Siri is a dolt.
 
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jcshas

macrumors 6502
Oct 8, 2003
361
251
I have a few Amazon Echo devices and a HomePod. The HomePod has much better sound quality but Siri is so hit or miss I rarely ever use it except for listening to music. Apple needs to come out with a lower price HomePod and make major improvements to Siri because it absolutely sucks.
 
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MarkAtl

macrumors regular
Jul 9, 2019
106
97
I have a bunch of Echo Dots and a few other kinds in my house. They make great intercom systems.
 
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Naraxus

macrumors 6502a
Oct 13, 2016
973
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69.7% of the U.S. market, eh? Any guess as to how many of those are the cheapest Dots you can buy? 90%?
Ok and that matters how?
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Amazon’s share in the smart speaker market directly correlates with its share in the personal info stealing market. Hmm...
Of which you have nothing to back up your assertion of course....
 

I7guy

macrumors Core
Nov 30, 2013
21,330
9,294
Gotta be in it to win it
We have an echo dot that was given to us as a gift. I tried using it and no doubt it’s cool, but the hardest thing I ever asked for was to set a timer. So today it’s unplugged and stored away. I suppose I could use it for music but that is what I use the HomePod for.

The HomePod gets much more use tgan the fit ever did and the sound is a pleasure to listen to.
 

motif88

macrumors newbie
Jul 22, 2017
2
0
NY
That’s OK... I prefer high quality audio and spy free devices to cheap crap that listens in on me and my family and sells my information....you decide, what could possibly go wrong?
 

m4mario

macrumors regular
May 10, 2017
174
407
San Francisco Bay Area
Thanks to all the experts of MacRumors, I now have a clear understanding of what Apple, Google, Amazon, Spotify and the US government should do.

Unfortunately I still don't have enough understanding on what I have to do tomorrow for my work.
 
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Anarchy99

macrumors 6502a
Dec 13, 2003
948
920
CA
not surprised

i liked the homepod' sound but it was too limited so i returned it within my 2-3week return period.
i started with echo dots and went to some higher-end echo's so they were my smart speaker baseline.

tried 2 google home mini's i got for free from a Spotify promo and honestly i replaced them with cheap dots durring the last prime day because while about as functional as the echos they seem significantly worse in both speaker and especially mic performance.
 
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Defthand

macrumors 65816
Sep 1, 2010
1,341
1,694
My SO purchased a discounted Google Hub Max that was bundled with their video doorbell. I was skeptical that it would be useful but it has proved otherwise. It allows us to use a virtual assistant without a device constantly on us.

Firstly, its sound is comparable to the countertop Bose SoundLink we had, especially after I lowered the subwoofer level. It’s suitable for podcasts and ambient music. It hears well but if you rather not shout over the audio that’s playing, you simply make a stop gesture with your hand to mute it.

What makes it more useful than other smart speakers though is the touchscreen display. It’s great when you only have time for a news summary or a YouTube clip and don’t want to navigate the TV. It displays any activity or visitors that the doorbell detects. We also use it for video calls with family because it frees our hands. In fact, the camera pans/zooms on the person who is speaking when we’re standing apart. Furthermore, the device has face recognition and shows each of us our personal content as we approach it. And of course, its assistant is worlds more useful than Siri. It’s amazing the breadth of questions it can answer rather than point to a web link. It could answer, for example, which local TV channel(s) and time(s) a show is playing. Which reminds me, we use it to voice control our AV equipment since it recognizes the programmed commands of the Harmony remote.
 

AnotherOpinion

macrumors newbie
Feb 16, 2015
18
18
If I want a spy in my house I will use Amazon or Google's speakers. If I want excellent sound with a hobbled Siri, I will use Apple's HomePods.

Apple's are getting "better" in functionality… and the sound really is incredible. But Siri SUCKS and Alexa is amazing… however, Amazon spys, records, and SAVES your home and office conversations. NO THANK YOU.
 

I7guy

macrumors Core
Nov 30, 2013
21,330
9,294
Gotta be in it to win it
I’m referring to true audiophiles. The HomePod audio quality isn’t even in the same zip code as that of a higher end setup.
Right. Must be referring to fake audiophile. But is agreed who is going to buy a HomePod with a ultra-expensive setup?

I don’t think you really know if HomePod is too expensive. Maybe for you or some others who voice some opinion. Certainly within the ball park of other Apple devices.
 

Braderunner

macrumors 65816
Oct 2, 2015
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Right. Must be referring to fake audiophile. But is agreed who is going to buy a HomePod with a ultra-expensive setup?

I don’t think you really know if HomePod is too expensive. Maybe for you or some others who voice some opinion. Certainly within the ball park of other Apple devices.
It’s not good enough for me. I’m an audiophile. AV receiver with 7.2.1 setup. Why would I want a HomePod? (That was rhetorical & I never said ultra-expensive. Higher end.)
Any decent surround system would sound much better. Yes, it would cost more, but, a HomePod wouldn’t compare.
Obviously, people have bought them. I’m sure they sound great...for what they are. But, it costs a lot more than most people want to pay...for what they are. A smart speaker. That’s it.
Other Apple devices aren’t anything like this.
 
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Solomani

macrumors 68040
Sep 25, 2012
3,822
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Alberto, Canado
IF this had been Apple that was dominating this smart speaker market, you can bet 500% that the European Commission and the FTC would have numerous antitrust lawsuits to shake down Apple by now.

But because it's Amazon (instead of Apple).... they will get away with it.
 

PickUrPoison

macrumors 603
Sep 12, 2017
6,019
7,334
Sunnyvale, CA
What does it matter? Apple blew this one. People don't want to buy this kind of device at that price point.
Why would Apple be interested in selling crappy sounding smart mics at a loss? What’s the purpose? How would that further their strategic goals?

I get why it works for Amazon and google. Amazon wants to sell you stuff, google wants to sell your info. Good for them, fine for whoever wants it but I’m not interested in either.

Apple wanted to make a great sounding, voice activated speaker. That’s what they did. HomePod has about as much in common with a cheap dot as the Apple Watch does with a $15 fitness band.

I wish they’d make a higher end version, but I personally don’t have any interest in a worse sounding device. Once you take away it’s main feature—great sound—what are you left with?
 
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