Amazon just showed how serious it is about owning the smart home — and made Apple look slow

Key Points
  • Amazon launched at least 15 new hardware products during a special launch event on Thursday.
  • The event showed how serious Amazon is about owning the smart home space.
Here's a first look at Amazon's new microwave, Echo Auto and Alexa Hunches
Here's a first look at Amazon's new microwave, Echo Auto and Alexa Hunches

Besides the seemingly endless number of new products introduced on Thursday, Amazon's launch event revealed two other things about the company: it is serious about owning the smart home space and is capable of running a more exciting event than Apple.

Amazon announced 15 new Alexa-enabled products on Thursday, including a microwave, a clock, an amplifier and car gadgets. The company also launched new services, like Alexa Hunches, which makes suggestions (such as to turn off your light at night) based on daily behavior.

The goal is to make the Alexa voice assistant more ubiquitous around the home.

Once considered an odd experiment, the Echo devices powered by Alexa have become the clear leader in the smart home market. And with all the new products rolled out on Thursday, it's evident that Amazon wants Alexa not just in your living room, but also in every bedroom, and even in the garage.

The potential reward is huge. The smart home market is expected to grow into a $53 billion industry by 2022, according to Zion Market Research. With Amazon taking an early lead in this space, it could open up a massive new revenue channel for the company going forward. The new microwave and amplifier bring Amazon into the home appliance and entertainment system space for the first time.

But perhaps the bigger revelation was Amazon's ability to generate excitement around its hardware launch. The rapid-fire event, which featured the introduction of 15 new products over 90 minutes, created consistent oohs and ahhs, with the microwave oven sparking the most interest.

It was hard not to contrast the reaction with Apple's big annual iPhone event held last week. Apple introduced only three new phones and a watch in about the same period of time, and the company continues to have a limited product set, with most of the details leaking out well ahead of time. (Not that Apple shareholders are complaining, given how many iPhones Apple continues to sell.)

WATCH: Apple vs. Amazon

When it comes to the smart home, Apple hasn't shown much of late, leaving many unanswered questions around how its HomePod device and Siri voice assistant will compete with Amazon's products.

Investors are bullish on both — they're the two most valuable companies in the world. But Amazon has been rapidly catching up, with the stock doubling in the past year, while Apple has gained 41 percent.