Apple’s HomePod finally hits the shelves: But can it emulate its rivals’ success? – that is the question!
Good news, Apple’s much anticipated smart speaker finally made its debut, but is it too little too late? – That is the question everyone is asking.
With the official launch of the HomePod – the company’s answer to the dominant Amazon Echo and Google Home Mini – Apple has finally entered the smart home speaker business.
Priced at $349, Apple’s HomePod might be late to the party, but the company will be hoping that it will secure a large chunk of the home speaker market nevertheless.
With Amazon and Google infiltrating every product they can, is Apple’s optimism warranted?
One thing is certain – we can’t dismiss Apple’s ability to make a market their own. After all, today’s smartwatches are known as Apple watches and tablets are known as iPads even though neither was a market first device.
What’s more, Google and Amazon pursue many different strategic aims to Apple, which leaves enough room for everyone to get a piece of the action. While Apple typically targets the high-end spectrum of the market, both their rivals rely on maximizing their global reach.
However, the early signs are not very encouraging and suggest that Apple may have dropped the ball with the HomePod. Could it be? If it is, it might be one of the few flops the company has in its track record.
Although it has been highly commended for its impeccable sound quality that is said to surpass that of its rivals’, the HomePod’s exclusivity in terms of software interaction certainly make it a hard sell to anyone that has not invested heavily in an Apple ecosystem.
Doubts have also been raised about its “smartness“, even though it can certainly be argued that both the Amazon Echo and the Google Home Mini are not all that smart themselves.
Early HomePod reviewers have also another feature of the HomePod – its connectivity options.
Predictably, the HomePod does not offer Bluetooth as a connectivity option, going instead for Apple’s AirPlay. This means that Spotify and Google Play Music subscribers, as well as all Android owners, will not be able to play their favorite tunes via voice command.
The HomePod does win the aesthetics war by some margin, with Google Home and Amazon Echo often compared by users to a salt cellar and a garbage can respectively.
It remains to be seen whether the HomePod’s superior build, look and sound quality will offset enough of its shortcomings to persuade people to choose it over the Amazon Echo or the Google Home Mini.
Apple, for one, will be hoping that its huge and devoted customer base which will opt to keep things simple, rather than mix and match their way to the less-than-integrated electronic mash dominated by Google and Amazon.