The iPad is the wicked witch that was never invited to the smart home party. Although it is widely acknowledged to be the smartest of them all, somehow its name is not to be mentioned as a network component, even within the Apple camp.
There is one simple reason for this – all existing smart home devices are Trojans expressly designed to (1) commit you to a major ecosystem – Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, LG – and (2) to black out the Web at all costs. See my article about Trojan crippleware posted last May.
The rationale of course is that the tech giants can’t sell streaming digital content if the Web offers that, and more, for free.
In a market harmonization last month Amazon agreed to allow the sale of iPads, iPhones, Beats and Apple Watch products on Amazon – but not the HomePod.
Then came the announcement that Apple Music is now supported on Amazon Echo speakers (only) is now active, and this will have wide implications for both firms.
First, the Echo Show will lose its sound capability advantage over the iPad, if the iPad can seamlessly use any Echo speaker to deliver Apple Music, and to amplify its tablet-level output. All such ‘assistants’ will now be seen as contrived, one-trick ponies if Siri and Alexa work as a duo seamlessly. Often near the price of a new iPad – such ‘assistants’ will do little more than grab kitchen counter space.
The iPad’s 300 million ‘installed base’ will indeed feed subscription and hardware revenues to Amazon, and high demand for Apple Music will originate from Amazon Echo devices. The two components form viable book-ends for each other.
Finally, like most marriages, they will be consummated at point-blank range. Enclosing a legacy iPad you may already own in a $40 Poort enclosure, partnered with a $59 discounted Echo speaker by your kitchen stove will deliver its independent open Web, improved sound, a file system and best-of-breed smarts and connectivity.
For $99 your Root Network will be unbeatable for a very long time.