“Apple’s HomePod smart speaker could be on sale in the next few weeks, with reports that the first shipments have finally left the factories,” Steve Ranger writes for ZDNet. “HomePod was supposed to be on sale in December for that all-important holiday shopping season, but Apple delayed it at the last minute saying it needed ‘a little more time before it’s ready.'”

“That means the HomePod will finally go on sale more than three years after Amazon launched the Echo smart speaker, which kickstarted the market and still dominates it, and more than a year behind Google Home. And there are plenty of other rivals, from Samsung to Sonos,” Ranger writes. “Apple needs to be in the smart speaker market because these devices are becoming a key gateway to subscription services like music, can connect with smart home gadgets, and facilitate other activities like shopping and playing games.”

“Perhaps Apple is hoping that HomePod will appeal to your inner musical connoisseur, who will appreciate that the device has the same chip as the iPhone and uses it for real-time acoustic modelling, audio beam forming, and multi-channel echo cancellation. But there’s a hefty price to pay for such premium sound quality and spatial awareness: $349. That doesn’t make HomePod the most expensive smart speaker around, as Google’s Home Max comes in at $399. But it is a premium product in a market where prices are dropping,” Ranger writes. “To my mind, that leaves one way for Apple to get ahead in the smart speaker market: by placing a much higher priority on privacy.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Can you sell a product based on something that too few really value?

Tim Cook has some very admirable qualities. For just one example, his stance on privacy is important and unparalleled. We’re not sure we’d have such privacy with any other CEO this side of Edward Snowden. (Of course, Cook’s ability to make that a selling point is in question as the near total lack of privacy doesn’t seem to dissuade literally billions of people from surrendering it daily to FaceBook and Google.)MacDailyNews, November 21, 2017

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]