“The smart home has been a dream of technology buffs for a decade or more, but our hopes really increased around 2014 when Apple introduced HomeKit and Amazon’s Alexa platform really started taking off,” Travis Hoium writes for The Motley Fool. “Five years later, Alexa is more widespread, with over 100 million devices sold, but HomeKit has barely scratched the surface of its potential.”

“That may finally be changing in 2019, as Apple opens its arms to partners in the technology industry who want to integrate with Apple HomeKit and the Home app on nearly 1 billion smartphones around the world,” Hoium writes. “Finally, Apple’s smart home may be a reality.”

“What seems to have caused Apple to finally open up to partners was the utter flop of the HomePod, the ‘smart’ speaker that was supposed to be the hub a smart home could be built around,” Hoium writes. “The product has been a disaster by almost any measure, and Apple simply wasn’t able to keep up with the race to the (price) bottom for smart speakers.”

Apple's HomePod

Apple’s HomePod

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Foolishness, indeed. Apple never sold the HomePod as a “hub a smart home could be built around.”

The mischaracterization here is akin to some hack writing an article calling the BMW M5 is a “flop” because (a) it’s not a dump truck and (b) Honda sold 500 times more vehicles.

Apple has always sold and continues to sell HomePod first and foremost as a high quality speaker for Apple Music.

Here’s the introductory paragraph from Apple’s HomePod webpage:

HomePod is a breakthrough speaker that adapts to its location and delivers high-fidelity audio wherever it’s playing. Together with Apple Music and Siri, it creates an entirely new way for you to discover and interact with music at home. And it can help you with everyday tasks — and control your smart home — all with just your voice.

Sentence one is about sound quality. Sentence two is about music. Sentence three finally mentions “smart home” and it’s inserted parenthetically, between dashes, basically as an aside. Maybe Apple will focus HomePod more on smart home features and functionality someday, but that day is not here, yet.

Furthermore, as per 40+ years of history, Apple doesn’t enter “the race to the (price) bottom” in any market it enters. Duh. Apple doesn’t make cheap, plastic “dots” in order to rack up unit share numbers. Apple doesn’t make junk to juice market share.

HomePod is not a flop. HomePod is a premium product owned by premium customers who subscribe to Apple Music, exactly as Apple intended it to be.

After a year with Apple’s HomePods, I’m glad I bought them – February 28, 2019
Apple’s HomePod sold 1.6 million units last holiday quarter – February 20, 2019
Apple’s HomePod shipments surged 45% in holiday quarter – February 19, 2019