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posted by janrinok on Sunday April 15, @02:31AM   Printer-friendly
from the superior==more-expensive dept.

Apple's HomePod has failed to take away much market share from rival devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home:

When Apple Inc.'s HomePod smart speaker went on sale in January, it entered a market pioneered and dominated by Amazon's Echo lineup of Alexa-powered devices. Apple has been touting the HomePod's superior sound quality but so far hasn't enticed many consumers to part with $349.

By late March, Apple had lowered sales forecasts and cut some orders with Inventec Corp., one of the manufacturers that builds the HomePod for Apple, according to a person familiar with the matter.

At first, it looked like the HomePod might be a hit. Pre-orders were strong, and in the last week of January the device grabbed about a third of the U.S. smart speaker market in unit sales, according to data provided to Bloomberg by Slice Intelligence. But by the time HomePods arrived in stores, sales were tanking, says Slice principal analyst Ken Cassar. "Even when people had the ability to hear these things," he says, "it still didn't give Apple another spike."

During the HomePod's first 10 weeks of sales, it eked out 10 percent of the smart speaker market, compared with 73 percent for Amazon's Echo devices and 14 percent for the Google Home, according to Slice Intelligence. Three weeks after the launch, weekly HomePod sales slipped to about 4 percent of the smart speaker category on average, the market research firm says. Inventory is piling up, according to Apple store workers, who say some locations are selling fewer than 10 HomePods a day. Apple declined to comment.

Also at BGR and AppleInsider.

See also: Why Apple's HomePod Is Three Years Behind Amazon's Echo

Related: Apple's "HomePod" Sinks Users Deeper Into a Walled Garden


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Apple's "HomePod" Sinks Users Deeper Into a Walled Garden 12 comments

The HomePod is the point of no return for Apple fans

The notion of Apple's "walled garden" ecosystem of products precedes even the iPhone. For as long as the company has existed, Apple products have worked best with other Apple products and that's been that. But the new HomePod speaker, which is going on sale today, ratchets this commitment up another notch. If you thought you were locked inside the Apple ecosystem before, buying a HomePod is like adding an iron ball to those chains.

The HomePod costs $349. That's a high price for the vast majority of people, and it pretty much guarantees that you'll be using the HomePod as the primary listening device in your home. The HomePod has voice control for music playback, but you'll have to be tapping into Apple's own Apple Music, iTunes tracks, or iTunes Match to take full advantage of Siri. Alternatively, you can use AirPlay from an Apple device, which gets you access to services like Spotify but with drastically simplified play / pause voice control. In any and all cases, to get the most out of the HomePod, you absolutely must have a subscription to an Apple music service and an iOS device to set the speaker up.

[...] Apple's HomePod is, by all accounts, a superb speaker that sets a new benchmark for sound quality in its size and price class. But it is also brazenly hostile to any hardware or service not made by Apple. If you decide to buy one, do so with the full awareness of how deeply ensconced inside the Apple bubble you will be.


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  • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Sunday April 15, @02:41AM (5 children)

    by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 15, @02:41AM (#667134) Homepage Journal

    Never heard of it...stupid name.

    How does it work?...
    "Jobs, order diapers?"
    "$400 diaper ordered!"
      "Thanks, Jobs...now we can't afford to eat!"
      "You're welcome"

    --
    --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Sunday April 15, @02:52AM (4 children)

      by takyon (881) Subscriber Badge <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Sunday April 15, @02:52AM (#667137) Journal

      Amazon gives a choice of wake words [amazon.com]. Amazon or Apple should add "Steve".

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @02:58AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @02:58AM (#667139)

        I'm somewhat disappointed that Amazon didn't get the rights to use HAL.

      • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Sunday April 15, @03:25AM (1 child)

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 15, @03:25AM (#667148) Homepage

        Big corporations get lazy. They become encumbered with internal politics and mission statements. Then they have to work with others like them, who operate by the same principles. The time it takes to get even a single task done magnifies by a thousand thanks to the red-tape. Soon it becomes a matter of having to get signatures from 20 different unrelated departments when one statement of narrow scope is all it takes to get things to work.

        This is why the Linux kernel works. This is why, when Linus dies, the kernel will die with him unless there is another like him to take his place.

        • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Sunday April 15, @03:44AM

          by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 15, @03:44AM (#667152) Homepage Journal

          There is... Greg Cromagnon, if memory serves which it doesn't, obviously.

          --
          --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Sunday April 15, @03:37AM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 15, @03:37AM (#667149) Journal

    We have Generation WTF'rs eating tide pods - so Apple comes out with a homepod? (why not an iPod?) The only people likely to buy one are Apple Phanbois, or idiots who intend to eat it. The dumbest of housewives isn't going to do laundry with it, since Tide pods are so much cheaper.

    --
    On the plus side, I am completely immune to flash-bang grenades. - Helen Keller
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by cykros on Sunday April 15, @04:19AM (1 child)

    by cykros (989) on Sunday April 15, @04:19AM (#667156)

    Anyone who wanted good sound quality from their smart speaker probably already has opted for the Amazon Echo Dot, which is designed to interface with existing home stereo equipment, and retails for $39.99. With that extra $310 you can certainly get a nicer speaker than whatever it is Apple's cobbled together...or get a bunch of them and have surround sound.

    Google's made the smarter moves in trying to beat the Alexa enabled devices, between having Chromecast support (which contends with the FireTV/stick devices) and having SIGNIFICANTLY better results when you're dealing with search oriented queries (Alexa will tell you why the sky is blue, but only Google Assistant was able to answer why it isn't purple).

    What will the Homepod do that these devices don't already do better? So far the only answer I've seen to that has been "get Apple Fanbois excited", and it doesn't even seem to be doing that particularly well.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @07:53AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @07:53AM (#667198)

      Google's made the smarter moves in trying to beat the Alexa enabled devices

      On the other hand...

      During the HomePod's first 10 weeks of sales, it eked out 10 percent of the smart speaker market, compared with 73 percent for Amazon's Echo devices and 14 percent for the Google Home, according to Slice Intelligence.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by deimtee on Sunday April 15, @04:54AM (2 children)

    by deimtee (3272) on Sunday April 15, @04:54AM (#667162)

    I am not a big fan of Apples lockdown-do-it-our-way policies, but they did make well-designed, solid hardware with reasonably catchy names. ipod and iphone were good enough to almost become generic terms for music player and smartphone.

    I'm pretty sure Steve would have sacked whoever came up with the stupid name Homepod.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @07:08AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @07:08AM (#667188)

      iSpeaker: Keynote Edition with a laser etched image of Steve Jobs posing during a speech on the bezel.

      I bet it would have sold like gangbusters to Apple fanatics, instead of meh, like the current ones did.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @12:54PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @12:54PM (#667253)

        Hologram of Jobs answering your questions.

  • (Score: 2) by archfeld on Sunday April 15, @06:29AM (3 children)

    by archfeld (4650) <treboreel@live.com> on Sunday April 15, @06:29AM (#667174) Journal

    This is the same generation of people that are satisfied with 64 kbps or 128 kbps music quality. I don't know about the rest of you but I rip my cd's at 192 kbps minimum and I can tell that from 320 kbps native CDA. You pay for music at high quality and then settle for AM fidelity. I have been called an audio snob, and I don't deny it. I am not one of those that touts vinyl over digital I want the highest fidelity I can get for my music. I want the shivers I feel at a live performance, I want to feel the bass and hear the scratch of the guitar players nails. I want to know when the high hat cracks.

    This just doesn't cut it...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjJ-rw76oVw [youtube.com]

    --
    For the NSA : Explosives, guns, assassination, conspiracy, primers, detonators, initiators, main charge, nuclear charge
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @10:08AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @10:08AM (#667220)

      I rip my cd's at 192 kbps minimum

      I have been called an audio snob, and I don't deny it. I am not one of those that touts vinyl over digital I want the highest fidelity I can get for my music.

      Amusing.

      If you want the highest fidelity you can get for your music, there's FLAC or ALAC. 192 kbps MP3, M4A, or Ogg Vorbis ain't it.

      Personally, I rip my music to q10 Ogg Vorbis, which is at 500 kbps.

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Sunday April 15, @11:36AM (1 child)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 15, @11:36AM (#667238) Journal

        I think that archfeld implies that he rips music at higher than 192, but he will accept 192 when nothing better is available. He pretty clearly states that he'll accept nothing lower. Just read his post again, and see if what you thought you read is actually what he said.

        --
        On the plus side, I am completely immune to flash-bang grenades. - Helen Keller
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @11:56AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, @11:56AM (#667241)

          Diff AC here. If you are ripping from CDs, what would ever be the point of making 192 kbps MP3s instead of just doing FLAC, WAV, or 320 kbps MP3 if you need that format? I guess the answer is some mix of needing to save precious megabytes years ago when he was actually ripping discs (who bothers anymore?), and certain recordings not benefiting *that* much from the full quality.

  • (Score: 1) by dr_barnowl on Monday April 16, @06:36AM

    by dr_barnowl (1568) on Monday April 16, @06:36AM (#667531)

    Aethercone was a nice looking, high quality, smart speaker in the same price range.

    It didn't do well. Now they sell for a tenth of their RRP, they're a bargain at that price, especially since they now no longer spy on you and just play music.....

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