Tim Cook talks HomePod's philosophy, ARKit's potential market impact

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Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook this week answered questions surrounding the the reasoning behind ARKit and the new HomePod announced during the WWDC keynote, calling the new speaker a "breakthrough" and Apple's ARKit's impact "profound."




Speaking with Bloomberg shortly after the WWDC keynote, Cook fielded an assortment of questions, mostly discussing the new product release, and Apple's future plans.

"What we've tried to do is build something that is breakthrough speaker first," said Cook, responding to a question about why people should buy the $349 HomePod over Amazon's cheaper Echo. "Music is deep in our DNA dating back to iTunes and iPod. Number one, we wanted something that sounded unbelievable."

The host pressed Cook about how to sell the device to customers, when the Amazon Echo stand-alone speaker sells for less than half the price of the HomePod.

"I think when people listen to it, they're going to be shocked over the quality of the sound, and of course it does a number of other things," Cook said, talking about Siri controls on the device."We wanted a really high quality audio, as well."



"One of the advantages that we have is that there are a lot of things that Siri knows to do from the cloud," he added. "We'll start with a patch of those as (marketing chief) Phil (Schiller) showed you today during the keynote, and then you can bet that there's a nice follow-on activity as well."

Cook was asked about what Apple watchers could read into Apple's implementation of the HomePod, and what could be gleaned about future products from it. Cook warned to not try to tell the future from one product, and the HomePod stands on its own, and is a logical part of Apple's evolution.

"What I would read into is is that Apple is a company that deeply cares about music, and wants to deliver a great audio experience in the home," answered Cook. "We feel like we reinvented it in the portable player arena, and we feel like we reinvented it in the home arena as well."

Cook was also asked about how long the HomePod had been in development, and the CEO responded by touting the advanced technology within the forthcoming media player.

"To get the experience that we wanted and the quality that we wanted ... it takes multiple years to do from the core technology and building up to the product," he explained.

Apple, and augmented reality

"I'm incredibly excited about AR. I think this is profound," Cook said about the first Apple-driven augmented reality release in ARKit. "I think that we today, as we get the developer release out in the hands of the developers, we'll have the largest augmented reality platform in the world."

Cook denied to divulge future plans for augmented reality when pressed, saying that ARKit was a "foundation" for future releases.

"For us its never been about being first to anything. "We didn't have the first MP3 player, we didnt have the first smartphone, we didn't have the first tablet," declared Cook about Monday's announcements. "Arguably we shipped the first modern MP3 player, we had the first modern smartphone, and the first modern tablet."

"For us it's not about being first," Cook emphasized, "It's about being the best."

Monday's interview also addressed Cook's discussions with President Donald Trump regarding climate change, as well as Apple giving assistance in the form of data it had on hand to U.K. investigators following terrorist attacks.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 322member
    I can't wait to see how AR will play in the iPhone 8. This could be another potential multi-billion dollar market for Apple.
    cali
  • Reply 2 of 23
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,530member
    Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook this week answered questions surrounding the the reasoning behind ARKit and the new HomePod announced during the WWDC keynote, calling the new speaker a “breakthrough" and Apple's ARKit's impact "profound."

    The host pressed Cook about how to sell the device to customers, when the Amazon Echo stand-alone speaker sells for less than half the price of the HomePod.
    Err, because the Echo is fugly and doesn’t understand multiple languages, a feature that Siri bashers don’t seem to appreciate.
    cornchipasdasd
  • Reply 3 of 23
    AR isn't new. Nintendo did that stuff with the DS. What is profound to me is Apple is giving the capability to many developers and will be able to incorporate it into most of their products...I think the time is right for AR to be applied.
    cornchipradarthekatsmiffy31cali
  • Reply 4 of 23
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,647member
    AR isn't new. Nintendo did that stuff with the DS. What is profound to me is Apple is giving the capability to many developers and will be able to incorporate it into most of their products...I think the time is right for AR to be applied.
    What is missed here is Apples dive into machine learning which has the potential to dramatically alter software in the future.    While many will disagree I suspect that the next releases of iOS and Mac OS are are the launching points for a new run of innovation for Apple and the developers the tux-port them.   ARKit is just one of many new technologies that welcome this year and breed innovation in the software space.

    What really interests me is where Apples new GPU fits in this future.    I really have to believe that the GPU will be highly optimized for AR, ML and other technologies that are coming.    In fact I suspect that we will see a different emphasis on what is important in a GPU.    IPhone will hopefully be the reveal of this new GPU this year.

    Speaking of GPU's I'm a bit surprised that Apple is using the A10X or A8 in some of its new products.    If they expect to discontinue royalties to Imagination in two years then most of the products revealed yesterday will need to be phased out by then.   
    cornchipradarthekat
  • Reply 5 of 23
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,589member
    lkrupp said:
    Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook this week answered questions surrounding the the reasoning behind ARKit and the new HomePod announced during the WWDC keynote, calling the new speaker a “breakthrough" and Apple's ARKit's impact "profound."

    The host pressed Cook about how to sell the device to customers, when the Amazon Echo stand-alone speaker sells for less than half the price of the HomePod.
    Err, because the Echo is fugly and doesn’t understand multiple languages, a feature that Siri bashers don’t seem to appreciate.
    And the Home Pod is clearly not positioned to be a block buster right out of the gate. It is a premium product and it is far more niche than the iPhone or iPad. There are hundreds of good speakers out there, so this is a combination of Home Kit, Siri and Quality Audio, each of which cuts out large parts of the Apple user base. 
  • Reply 6 of 23
    karmadavekarmadave Posts: 297member
    If a reporter has to ask the CEO of Apple how they can sell a HomePod, for twice the price of an Amazon Echo, they obviously don't understand Apple. They will sell all the HomePods they can build, to the Apple faithful, and users will marvel in the audio quality and overall functionality ;-)
    cornchipradarthekatgatorguycali
  • Reply 7 of 23
    It surprises me that people think that $350.00 is expensive.  
    cornchipMisterKitradarthekatBlunt
  • Reply 8 of 23
    jSnivelyjSnively Posts: 325administrator
    It surprises me that people think that $350.00 is expensive.  
    $350 is only expensive if the unit sounds bad, which, by most accounts (including our own) it doesn't. I paid just about as much per-speaker for my SVS bookself setup, more for the center channel and subwoofer, and those don't do anything other than reproduce sound. I by no means have a crazy setup. Apple was never going to make a $100 speaker, that's not how they operate. They will, however, sell you this first generation HomePod for ~$200 after the second generation comes out.

    It will be interesting to see where the HomePod settles once wildly available.
    cornchip
  • Reply 9 of 23
    FolioFolio Posts: 422member

    Who can make the most amiable intelligent assistant? Many recent steps Apple is taking: Applewatch, AR, HomePod, expanded iMessages, etc. encourage me that Cupertino is in a leading position. 

    Tim Cook wisely is terse about it. Few have as big a picture, strategic and tactical, as he does. My hunch is so many things will suddenly come together maybe as early as a few years or so,  all centered on continual machine learning coupled to an individual.

    If you cataloged all your screen-based annoyances during one day, it might included obnoxious ads, poor click bait articles, repetitive ads, stale information, inefficient communications, ineffective searches, and so on. 

    Never tried to quantify this, but I’d guess for myself it easily exceeds 100 times— on one slow afternoon. I’d pay extra for any smart digital agent that would buffer me against some of this.

    My biggest bet is on AAPL. Since the company is not driven by advertising income, its personal digital helper can block ads that you find annoying, repetitive,  too creepy, etc. You better be able to trust it. As it’ll hang with you more than your spouse.

    Eventually by reading your face, gestures, measuring your BP, it might learn what makes you happy, irritated, etc. as well or maybe better than your mother.

    Within five years, the enhanced Siri offering I hope is no longer generic for us. Instead it’s distinct for each user it serves, and we call him/her/it whatever we want, and own or co-own the rights for much of it. They would develop expertise alongside the individuals they serve, and be their sentinel and advocate, as long as conduct is above the law.

    Not just be smart and hyper-aware, but uphold the interests of their owners. Ideally it’d be a partner you’d never wish to discard-- for whoa, the secrets it could tell. ;-)







    radarthekattycho_macuserpatchythepirate
  • Reply 10 of 23
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 288member
    The important fact here is the existence of the ARkit off the bat. This means massive adoption by iOS developers. And probably significant sales of high powered Macs to develop AR applications. 
    radarthekat
  • Reply 11 of 23
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,638member
    This speaker has to be the work of Tomlinson Holman, Apple's "audio direction" guy. He invented THX, 5.1 surround and some other highly significant audio devices/systems. This thing seems right up his alley.
    cali
  • Reply 12 of 23
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,412member
    jSnively said:
    It surprises me that people think that $350.00 is expensive.  
    $350 is only expensive if the unit sounds bad, which, by most accounts (including our own) it doesn't. I paid just about as much per-speaker for my SVS bookself setup, more for the center channel and subwoofer, and those don't do anything other than reproduce sound. I by no means have a crazy setup. Apple was never going to make a $100 speaker, that's not how they operate. They will, however, sell you this first generation HomePod for ~$200 after the second generation comes out.

    It will be interesting to see where the HomePod settles once wildly available.
    Jason Snell (of MacWorld and Six Colors fame) noted that the HomePod significantly modified the sound of a famous Stevie Wonder song to the point he almost couldn't tell which song it was.
  • Reply 13 of 23
    I couldn't take my eyes off Tim Cook's ginormous Adam's apple. Has it always been so pronounced?
  • Reply 14 of 23
    jSnivelyjSnively Posts: 325administrator
    [..]
    Jason Snell (of MacWorld and Six Colors fame) noted that the HomePod significantly modified the sound of a famous Stevie Wonder song to the point he almost couldn't tell which song it was.
    Yeah this is my fear with all the audio morphing tech they're putting into it. Though I highly doubt it was as pronounced as not being able to recognize the track (that's pretty hyperbolic). I have, however, learned over the years not to trust the hearing of most people. It's not that they're incapable of hearing well, it's that they often don't have good reference, or don't know what to listen for. 

    It's also the main reason why I'm interested to see where it settles once it's wildly available and can be sampled in a controlled environment from people who are more experienced at listening for oddities. That said, being audiophile-grade doesn't make something a popular product, in fact muddying the acoustics with too much bass, for example, often helps sell it.
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 15 of 23
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 3,069member

    The AirPods are one of the coolest things Apple has released. They are so convenient and pleasing to the ears.

    However, unless there is something built into it to glean information for medical diagnostics a few years from now, it remains a dedicated earphone pair.

    The HomePod on the other hand, has a lot of potential, most of which can be realised in the immediate future.

    I like how Tim still steered the interviewer back to the fact that it is a music speaker first and foremost. The A8 chip in it is definitely an indicator of huge enhancements, but as always, Tim is tight-lipped about it and warns people not to extrapolate the product to predict future products. But the potential is right there for all to see.

    My personal feeling is that I will use it for the music only occasionally. I prefer a dedicated speaker system. I'm more interested in the Siri aspect.


    I am also impressed with what Apple is doing with AI Kit. Like @Radarthekat mentioned in a previous post, Apple is laying the groundwork as a platform. I'm sure there will be a pretty giant step ahead this Fall, when the iPhone is announced and then the quantum leaps are only limited by what developers can imagine and implement.

  • Reply 16 of 23
    tshapitshapi Posts: 288member
    I find it funny, of all the things Siri can do and all the things the home pod can probably be good at. Apple chooses to focus entirely on the sound. As if to say, we are selling you a speaker and that's it. That in my opinion is like Apple releasing the iPad and repeatedly pointing out how much better it is at accessing the Internet that it's competitors. Doesn't he have multiple plugs for this expensive speaker, the reason I say expensive is because it needs to be compared to the market it's in and the competition in that market.  

    I suspect Apples plan is to put this out there see what happens and build from there. It's something to centralize the home kit around. 

    The gpu, I don't believe Apple will stop paying royalties to I magination. I believe they will stop putting them in fresh products.  And with in 2 years most of the Products they are in will he phased out.

    I also believe that iOS and OS X are heading in the same direction.  

    Apple is slowly moving ios to be closer to OS X , so that years from now they can focus on one os and not 2 or have an os that's layered like iOS and iOS pro ( for macs) 

    i believe that the iPhone 8 will also be the iPhone pro.  iPhones are the only category to not have a pro level.  And i also believe the smart connector is a good way for Apple to move into wireless charging.  

    I think apple will put its weight behind a company like energous or ubeam and bring long distance charging to its products.   
  • Reply 17 of 23
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,696member
    Apple doesn't have a reputation for great marketing for no reason. :)

    Very, very smart move to market this as a wonderful speaker....

    that just happens to have a voice assistant too. That way Apple avoids the automatic comparison to Google Assistant and Alexa, a space where they might not match up as well right now. Gives them quite a while to get things up to speed with Siri capabilities, using HomePod as the test bed. 

    Smart!
  • Reply 18 of 23
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,871administrator
    I suspect that they key with the HomePod will be to find a reviewer that has the same assumptions and predilections that you have, and trust that person when they talk about it.

    If that person for you is "more experienced at listening for oddities" then go with that.

    There's a reason why I've used the same 10 people as a listening panel for the last half-decade when I review audio products. They amplify my own preferences and help smooth out any prejudices or gaps I may have.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,371member

    I appreciate Apple wanting to make a great sounding speaker first and I believe people will buy it no matter what, but the market size for this is not the same as cell phone. Not everyone listens to music all the time. I found most people have no idea what sounds good verse what does not. Look at all the crap speaker out on the market which are bought everyday. It is not like a cell phone where there is the whole experience weights on people's purchase decision. I have been in audio rooms listening to speaker and you can easily compare one set to another and it not easy to notice any difference unless you know exactly what you are looking at.

    People buying these speaker are buying them online, do you think they are listening to them. They going to read the idiot reviews where someone say it the best ever followed by it is the worse ever. The decision will be solely made on price. Also, we are starting to hear those who bought Echo and such, those devices are sitting in the corner somewhere not being used less than a year after being bought.

    I personally have my ATV set up with my home theater system with 7 speaker and I simply steam content from the phone to the system. Petty simple and it fills my whole house with music and I do not look like an idiot speak to my system. If my wife says it is too loud, I pull out my phone or my watch and turn down the volume, it subtle and no one knows what I just did.

    With that all said, I most likely would buy one, time to replace my Bose sound dock

  • Reply 20 of 23
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,173member
    tshapi said:
    I find it funny, of all the things Siri can do and all the things the home pod can probably be good at. Apple chooses to focus entirely on the sound. As if to say, we are selling you a speaker and that's it. That in my opinion is like Apple releasing the iPad and repeatedly pointing out how much better it is at accessing the Internet that it's competitors. Doesn't he have multiple plugs for this expensive speaker, the reason I say expensive is because it needs to be compared to the market it's in and the competition in that market.  

    I suspect Apples plan is to put this out there see what happens and build from there. It's something to centralize the home kit around. 

    The gpu, I don't believe Apple will stop paying royalties to I magination. I believe they will stop putting them in fresh products.  And with in 2 years most of the Products they are in will he phased out.

    I also believe that iOS and OS X are heading in the same direction.  

    Apple is slowly moving ios to be closer to OS X , so that years from now they can focus on one os and not 2 or have an os that's layered like iOS and iOS pro ( for macs) 

    i believe that the iPhone 8 will also be the iPhone pro.  iPhones are the only category to not have a pro level.  And i also believe the smart connector is a good way for Apple to move into wireless charging.  

    I think apple will put its weight behind a company like energous or ubeam and bring long distance charging to its products.   
    They will never merge iOS and OS X. 
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