×

Apple’s HomePod Looks a Lot Like This Startup’s Speaker

Comparisons to Amazon’s Echo abounded when Apple introduced its HomePod smart speaker on Monday. But some Twitter users were also reminded of another, lesser-known product: Whyd, a smart speaker made by a Paris-based startup that debuted last summer on Kickstarter.

“Whyd the homepod look so familiar,” punned one user, with another agreeing that “the new HomePod looks an awful like a Whyd speaker.”

One user even suggested that Apple “ripped off” Whyd, while others apparently thought the Whyd team may have joined Apple. “After the Apple announcement, our team has been overwhelmed by customers and people pointing out similarities and asking us if Whyd had been bought by Apple and was behind the HomePod speaker,” Whyd co-founder Gilles Poupardin told Variety. “The answer is no.”

Poupardin stopped short of accusing Apple of plagiarism, but agreed that there are some obvious similarities between the two products. Both feature microphones for voice input and added smarts, but set themselves apart from products like the Amazon Echo with a focus on sound quality. Both are cylinders with rounded ends, covered with a cloth mesh. Both use a circular touch surface on top that allows for pausing songs with a tap.

The touch interface surface of both speakers. Above: Apple. Below: Whyd. Photos courtesy of Apple,
Whyd.

There are also some clear differences. Apple’s HomePod is less than seven inches tall, whereas Whyd’s speaker measures 11.5 inches. The startup’s speaker is also slightly more elliptical than Apple’s model, and its LEDs are hidden behind the cloth mesh, whereas Apple has integrated them in the touch surface of the its speaker.

Still, if one would place all existing smart and Wi-Fi-connected speakers in a row, including models from Amazon, Google, Sonos, Polk, and Bang & Olufsen, Apple’s and Whyd’s devices would clearly stand out as having the most closely aligned design.

So what is Whyd going to do about it? Nothing, said Poupardin. “We welcome Apple and the HomePod.” And instead of trying to fight a goliath, Whyd wants to spend its energy on its own products. “We’re building an amazing community of music lovers and we’re staying focused on building beautiful, high-quality, and simple products for them,” he said.

Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Andrew MorseVariety's Entertainment & Techonology Summit,

    Listen: CNN Digital Chief Says Trump Doesn't Drive Traffic Success

    No subject might get as much attention across CNN’s digital properties as Donald Trump, but that doesn’t mean the news network is dependent on him for web traffic. Andrew Morse, executive VP and general manager of the AT&T-owned company’s digital operations, pointed to recent coverage of natural disasters and international incidents as more potent audience [...]

  • Jonah Hill attends the press conference

    Instagram Debuts Jonah Hill’s ‘Un-filtered’ Bullying Docu-Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Facebook’s Instagram, as part of its anti-bullying initiatives, funded a new series directed by Jonah Hill featuring teens and young adults talking about their experiences with bullying. The four-episode “Un-filtered” goes live Wednesday (Sept. 18) on Instagram’s IGTV channel on its mobile app and the web. In the unscripted series, Hill interviews people aged 13-25 [...]

  • Plex

    Plex Signs Up Lionsgate for Upcoming Ad-Supported Video Service

    Media center app maker Plex has struck a deal with Lionsgate to add some of the studio’s movies and TV shows to its upcoming ad-supported video service. The news comes just weeks after Plex announced a similar deal with Warner Bros. “Lionsgate is one of the biggest names in the business and we know our [...]

  • Comcast Xfinity Flex

    Comcast Drops $5 Monthly Fee for Xfinity Flex Video-Streaming Set-Top for Broadband Customers

    Comcast will hand out one free set-top box for broadband subscribers to access Xfinity Flex, its video-streaming product for internet-only customers, as it looks to punch up the value of its high-speed internet business. Brian Roberts, Comcast’s chairman and CEO, announced the new strategy at Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia conference Wednesday in New York. “One of [...]

  • Facebook Portal TV

    Facebook Announces $149 Portal TV Device, 2 New Portal Smart Displays

    Facebook wants you to put a camera into your living room: The company officially unveiled its Portal TV device Wednesday that brings video chatting, augmented reality (AR) and Facebook Watch to any TV set. In addition, the company also unveiled two new Portal smart display devices that are aggressively priced to grow the company’s home [...]

  • Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, South

    Amazon’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ Series to Shoot in New Zealand

    Amazon Studios has set New Zealand as the location for its upcoming series production of “The Lord of the Rings,” following in the footsteps of the movies made by Peter Jackson. Pre-production on the series has started, and production on the series will begin in Auckland in the coming months. “We knew we needed to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content