“Apple’s HomePod is set to arrive sometime in ‘early 2018’ after missing its promised December ship date,” Zac Hall writes for 9to5Mac. “Based on Apple’s definition of ‘early’ in the year, we can expect HomePod to go on sale any day between now and the end of April.”

“Combine the delay with new competitors and the challenge is only amplified: lower prices, wider compatibility, and a late entry to the market will make the $349 Siri-enabled speaker a tougher sell for Apple without a refocused pitch,” Hall writes. “HomePod was initially pitched as a home speaker with both premium audio output for playing Apple Music and access to Siri for smart assistant needs — all in a single device for the first time… [But, now] you can combine any Sonos speaker with any Amazon Echo product for hi-fi music playback controlled by voice though. For example, you can buy the $249 Sonos Play:3 and the $50 Amazon Echo Dot and have the very product Apple showed on stage in June for $50 less than the price of HomePod.”

“Want a more premium audio experience than HomePod even promises to offer? Sonos Play:5, a $500 wireless speaker, paired with an Amazon Echo Dot is probably your best solution; Apple doesn’t yet offer a smart speaker that promises to compete with the Play:5’s audio quality,” Hall writes. “Apple can refresh its messaging without changing what HomePod does. Dropping the price before actually shipping wouldn’t hurt. $349 to $329 or $299 wouldn’t make a huge difference to consumers, but it might send the message that Apple gets we’re not in June 2017 anymore and there are compelling options with more appealing prices on the market today. Even without touching the price, there are ways Apple could pitch HomePod that make it more compelling than a smart speaker that rocks the house…”

Much more in the full article – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple had a lot of work to do if they wanted HomePod to be successful last year. They have a lot more work to do now.

Tick-tock, Apple. Real artists ship.

Apple CEO Tim Cook paid close to $102 million for fiscal 2017 – December 28, 2017
Apple’s Phil Schiller: We feel bad about the HomePod delay – December 8, 2017
Echo Dot was Amazon’s Black Friday – Cyber Monday bestseller as Apple’s delayed HomePod waits for 2018 release date – November 28, 2017
Apple’s late, delayed, limited HomePod is looking more and more like something I don’t want – November 27, 2017
Why Apple’s HomePod is three years behind Amazon’s Echo – November 21, 2017
Under ‘operations genius’ Tim Cook, product delays and other problems are no longer unusual for Apple – November 20, 2017
Apple delays HomePod release to early 2018 – November 17, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook: The ‘operations genius’ who never has enough products to sell at launch – October 23, 2017
Apple reveals HomePod smart home music speaker – June 5, 2017
Apple’s desperate Mac Pro damage control message hints at a confused, divided company – April 6, 2017
Apple is misplaying the hand Steve Jobs left them – November 30, 2016
Apple delays AirPod rollout – October 26, 2016
Apple delays release of watchOS 2 due to bug – September 16, 2015
Apple delays HomeKit launch until autumn – May 14, 2015
Apple delays production of 12.9-inch ‘iPad Pro’ in face of overwhelming iPhone 6/Plus demand – October 9, 2014
Tim Cook’s mea culpa: iMac launch should have been postponed – April 24, 2013