Damn, this thing sounds good. Damn, I wish it worked with non-Apple devices. And, one more– damn, why is HomePod’s Siri so stupid?
So many questions, so little time.
The traditional schools of thought regarding Apple’s entry into the home speaker market fall along these lines.
- HomePod sounds great (best music-based talking speaker)
- Siri is more stupid on HomePod than on iPhone
- HomePod sales are less than expected
- Apple needs to change HomePod’s strategy
OK, let me give consideration to each item on the list.
First up is HomePod’s sound. Yes, it’s that good. Few speakers sound that good at double the price tag and it can hear your voice better than Amazon Echo.
Second, even though Siri (the ‘ears’ of HomePod) can hear better, thanks to all those HomePod microphones, Siri HomePod is the stupidest Siri. Worse than Siri on the Mac. Yeah, that’s right. Siri isn’t the same Siri on each Apple device. Responses to queries vary from one Apple product to another.
Third, regarding the HomePod sales are less than expected meme, only Apple knows what was expected. Supposedly, orders were cut down to 200,000 or so a month which caused analysts to change sales expectations to 2-million or more.
My Mac’s calculator tells me that 2-million of anything priced at $350 is a $700-million a year business. What was iPod the first year? Or, iPhone? Or, Apple TV? Or, Apple Watch?
Amazon says more than 20-million Echo devices have been sold through the end of 2017, but the average Echo price tag is perhaps half to a third of HomePod. Even at $100 average selling price, my calculator says $2-billion in revenue over almost three years (I suspect ASP is less than $100).
HomePod’s first year sales estimate doesn’t look so bad, does it?
What about Apple’s HomePod strategy? First, we don’t have a clue what it is other than a mix of high quality sound, Apple Music, and Siri. As with Watch, we can expect HomePod to improve over the next couple of years. Siri could use improvement. AirPlay 2 isn’t here yet and neither is the stereo component. $350 seems outrageous when compared to Amazon Echo devices– until you hear the sound difference, and recognize what HomePod does better. Quality sound.
What about a smaller HomePod at, say, $249, coupled with a smarter Siri, AirPlay 2, stereo bundle (two HomePod mini’s at $449), and an option to receive audio from other non-Apple sources?
Would such adjustments in the strategy help HomePod sell more?
Will Apple change HomePod in the future?
What we still don’t know is Apple’s HomePod strategy, right?