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Will Apple's (AAPL) HomePod Feature Face ID Technology?

Zacks Equity Research

Per Nikkei Asian Review, Apple Inc’s AAPL next edition of HomePod may be equipped with Face ID technology.

Though there was no direct reference to Apple, Inventec Appliances’ president David Ho was quoted by Nikkei saying, “We see trends that engineers are designing smart speakers that will not only come with voice recognition but also incorporate features such as facial and image recognition.”

Now Inventec is Apple’s component supplier for HomePods and AirPods. Inventec also supplies parts to Xiaomi, Sonos and Fitbit FIT, per media reports.

Apple Inc. Price

Apple Inc. Price | Apple Inc. Quote

HomePod and Face ID

Apple unveiled the Face ID technology at its September event. iPhone X is the first device to feature this technology. Face ID is powered by TrueDepth camera that comes with a flood illuminator, infrared camera, dot projector, front camera and ambient light sensors. Machine learning enables Face ID to adjust with physical changes in facial appearance over time.

Analysts expect Apple to incorporate this groundbreaking technology in all its products. There have been rumors of Apple refreshing its iPad Pro lineup with Face ID.

HomePod was unveiled at Apple’s WWDC this June. With HomePod, Apple is preparing itself to take on Amazon’s AMZN Echo and Alphabet’s GOOGL Google Home, which is a little speaker-like home automation device that can do everything from streaming music to dimming lights or adjusting the heat on the compatible thermostat.

HomePod has similar functions to Echo and Home. Interestingly, it is also integrated with Apple Music and Siri. The speaker is a seven-inch circular device and will be available in two colors — black and white. The device is powered by an A8 chip processor and has a customized four-inch woofer.

By integrating Face ID, Apple is taking HomePod to another level. With Face ID, the device can scan the person nearby and automatically set up music, thermostat and more per his/her preference.

However, as with all Apple products, price point remains a concern. HomePod carries a price tag of $349, heftier than Echo and Google Home, which are priced at $179 and $129, respectively. Analysts observe that Apple is already late to the party and such a hefty price tag might prove to be an impediment. However, Apple’s loyal fan base is not to be underestimated.  HomePod will start shipping in December.

Zacks Rank and Share Price Movement

At present, Apple carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Notably, the company has outperformed the industry in the past year. Shares of Apple have surged 64.6% compared with the industry’s 62% rally.

 

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