Apple doesn’t often release a new product. Sure, they release new and better versions of, but they don’t usually release an entirely new product. When they do, people take note. Especially people at Sony, it seems. In fact, they have just announced two products that could be considered an Apple rip off. Specifically, a fancy new set of wireless earbuds and a smart home speaker. Before we rip on Sony, let me first say, that I like the look of the Sony “earbuds” better. Mostly because they don’t look like they will “hang” out of my ear.
Now back to ripping on Sony. The Sony WF-1000x earbuds are completely wireless. Like the AirPods. They’re similar in terms of what they do. They too come in a portable charging case, and feature microphones for taking calls. They even have a one-touch button that lets you control playback and beckon an AI assistant, like Siri (but not Siri). The “big” difference is that the Sony wireless earbuds also come with noise cancellation. A feature that is not currently available on the AirPods. Which is another reason I also find them appealing. They will cost $200, which is slightly more than the AirPods. But still reasonable considering.
The second product they are ripping off is the smart speaker. The Sony LF-S50G looks almost identical to the HomePod. Which is kind of suspicious. The Sony speaker also offers voice control, as well as high quality 360 degree sound. But unlike the HomePod, Sony’s smart speaker connects to devices using Bluetooth. This, however, will only cost you $200, whereas the HomePod is expected to come in at $350. Sony’s version will also be available in October. Making Apple fans wait until December.
Sony isn’t just ripping off Apple, they’re also using Google to help do it. All joking aside, the smart speaker is going to use Google Assistant. It has to have some kind of assistant power, and why make your own? Especially when there is one available for the taking. The device itself doesn’t really have a good name. Although “HomePod” isn’t really that catchy in my opinion. But, you can listen to music from a range of services, ask for weather updates, traffic and more. It can also be used to control other smart home devices like your lights and thermostats.
With all these smart devices coming out onto the market, will this be a good thing or bad thing for competition? I typically see competition as a good thing. But I’m wondering if that’s going to be the case here. After all, these new devices are almost identical to what is being offered by Apple. And in one case, it’s not even a better price. I think Sony has an advantage when it comes to the home speaker though. It is priced lower, and like I said, it basically does the same thing.
Should Apple be mad? I’d say no. I’ve mentioned brand loyalty when it comes to Apple about a hundred times, so I think example is no different. They say “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, so maybe Apple is flattered by this? It’s hard to say. Like always, I think this forces Apple to look at their own products. Will these products continue to work as they are? Could they make any improvements on them? I think that Sony coming along and bringing out their own shows that there is room to improve. Which means, I’ll likely be writing about the next generation of these products sometime next year.