Consumers appear eager to buy Apple’s upcoming HomePod smart speaker

Even though Apple’s “HomePod is $170 more than its nearest-in-price competitor, Apple fans are eager to get their hands on it when it debuts in December just in time for the holidays,” Natalie Walters writes for TheStreet.

“A Raymond James survey of 500 consumers in June showed that about 14% of iPhone owners intend to buy the HomePod,” Walters writes, “which is more than the 6% of respondents that indicated they wanted to buy an Apple Watch in a similar survey the firm conducted ahead of the wearable’s release in the spring of 2015.”

MacDailyNews Note: Since its release on April 24, 2015 through calendar Q1 2017, Canalys estimates Apple has sold over 27.7 million Apple Watch units (over 12 million in 2015, 11.9 million in 2016, and 3.8 million in Q117).

“However, its competitors have had a meaningful head start,” Walters writes, “The Amazon Echo has already been out for close to three years and the Google Home has been out for about a year. According to the same survey, 16% of respondents plan to buy an Echo, while just 2% plan to buy a Google Home. However, 5% plan to buy a speaker from Apple’s Beats Music, which brings Apple to a total of 19% when it comes to implied speaker purchases by iPhone users.”

Apple's HomePod
Apple’s HomePod

 
Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s extremely early in the process. Once consumers read reviews and hear HomePods for themselves in Apple stores and it early adopters homes, Amazon and Google will struggle to compete on the mid-high end of the market where Apple is playing. As always, Apple’s competitors can have the dreck. They buy less, they won’t spring for music subscriptions, they can’t or won’t grasp the value equation, they fail to properly value quality; in general, they’re just significantly less valuable customers overall.

As per HomePod via Reddit user Arve:

1. They’re using some form of dynamic modeling, and likely also current sensing that allows them to have a p-p excursion of 20 mm in a 4″ driver. This is completely unheard of in the home market. You can read an introduction to the topic here. The practical upshot is that that 4″ driver can go louder than larger drivers, and with significantly less distortion. It’s also stuff you typically find in speakers with five-figure price tags (The Beolab 90 does this, and I also suspect that the Kii Three does). It’s a quantum leap over what a typical passive speaker does, and you don’t really even find it in higher-end powered speakers

2. The speaker uses six integrated beamforming microphones to probe the room dimensions, and alter its output so it sounds its best wherever it is placed in the room. It’ll know how large the room is, and where in the room it is placed.

3. The room correction applied after probing its own position isn’t simplistic DSP of frequency response, as the speaker has seven drivers that are used to create a beamforming speaker array,. so they can direct specific sound in specific directions. The only other speakers that do this is the Beolab 90, and Lexicon SL-1. The Beolab 90 is $85,000/pair, and no price tag is set for the Lexicon, but the expectation in the industry is “astronomical”.

So yes, compared to the typical sub-$2000 speaker, the technology they apply may just as well be considered “magic”.

SEE ALSO:
After seeing Apple’s HomePod, Amazon is working on an Apple HomePod echo – July 14, 2017
Apple Watch and AirPods in high demand; HomePod buying intent outpaces Amazon Echo – July 10, 2017
Apple’s HomePod could have an even more successful start than Apple Watch – July 7, 2017
Amazon Echo has a problem: Apple’s HomePod has major advantage over rivals – June 18, 2017
Apple’s HomePod first impressions: Lots of mystery, impressive sound quality – June 8, 2017
With HomePod, Apple just wants to shake things up (for now) – June 7, 2017
Apple HomePod vs. Amazon Echo – June 7, 2017
CNET: Apple’s HomePod offers superior sound quality vs. Amazon Echo and Sonos Play:3 – June 6, 2017
Apple’s new HomePod sounds incredible! – June 6, 2017
Apple HomePod takes on Amazon Echo – June 6, 2017
Apple reveals HomePod smart home music speaker – June 5, 2017
Newsflash: Apple sells premium products at premium prices to premium customers – October 23, 2012

8 Comments

  1. It is ridiculous to say there are competitors. Current speakers are either smart or sound good. The Home Pod is the ONLY one that does both. But trust me, there will be copycats a plenty down the road!!!

  2. “349 dollars? $170 dollars more than competitors? Only white and space grey? Sounds like a million bucks compared to the AM transistor radio competition? You get what you pay for? I said that is the most expensive speaker in the world. And it doesn’t appeal to business or home customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard. Which makes it not a very good e-mail machine.”

    Shades of all that has gone on before and been wrong consistently from tech spokesholes & clueless CEOs!

  3. Get it through your head already. Homepod buyers aren’t buying for voice assistance. Siri way behind amazon and GOog in that area, they’ll be buying for the sound. Maybe someday in the next decade Siri will be relevant.

    1. Siri is extremely capable in the domains it has been taught – and once it’s taught something, it can understand it in any language it knows. What they’ve done with this device in particular is teach Siri to be a musicologist – it’ll know anything and everything about music, which as you said, will be the number one reason people buy this device.

      People who want just a voice assistant can use their other iOS devices, why would they buy a stand-alone speaker for that?

      As Apple has stated, hundreds of millions of users use Siri monthly.

  4. I can’t wait.
    I’ve been circling around all the wireless speaker options for a while now. Not that interested in the personal assistant side of it myself, but strictly about sound quality.
    And it seems that the Homepods fit the bill perfectly.

    1. Same hear 😉

      Just waiting for the release and will be buying.

      Just bought the new 12″ iPad Pro – amazing device.

      I can run my businesses off it and develop more ideas.

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