Apple to ship crippled, incomplete HomePod months late

“Those waiting eagerly for Apple’s HomePod smart speaker have now twice been disappointed,” Ben Lovejoy writes for 9to5Mac. “First, when Apple delayed the release from December until February, and a second piece of bad news now as the release date has been announced.”

Coming this year in a free software update, users will be able to play music throughout the house with multi-room audio. – Apple Inc.

“It’s not even yet 100% clear whether you’ll get stereo performance from two speakers before the update,” Lovejoy writes. “You’d certainly hope they’d manage that much, but that too may depend on the speakers communicating with each other.”

“The question facing would-be buyers is: buy now, and only have limited functionality for who knows how long, or wait until Apple has everything working before diving in?” Lovejoy writes. “It seems interest is waining as the delay and issues have continued. Back in November almost 60% of readers said they would be buying one. More recently, only 43% said yes.”

Read more, and take the polls, in the full article here.

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook
MacDailyNews Take: In 2017, Apple CEO Tim Cook was paid well over a quarter of a million dollars per day ($279,452/day), yet his company cannot manage to ship a fully capable smart speaker 3 years, 3 months, 4 days and counting after Amazon invented the category.

Regardless of the profits and stock performance, many will say: Too many mistakes too richly rewarded. The recent lack of focus, timely performance, and vexing issues with quality control (that should not exist in the world’s most valuable company, 40+ years after inception) will, if continued, negatively impact the company and future executives years down the road, likely not the current set.MacDailyNews, December 28, 2017

Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber writes today, “How does this handle multiple people in the same home? That seems like a big question to remain unanswered before folks start plunking down $349. This feels like if Apple had started selling the iPod back in 2001 without ever having explained how the click wheel worked or how you synced music to it from iTunes, and instead just said ‘Trust us, it’s great.’ AirPlay 2 has been postponed until ‘later this year’ — and AirPlay 2 is required for using two HomePods in stereo or multi-room audio. Both of those features were promised all the way back in June when HomePod was announced.”

Exit question: How much would Apple Inc. be worth today had a Jeff Bezos-type CEO taken over the reins instead?MacDailyNews, November 21, 2017

Apple’s HomePod arrives February 9th, available to order this Friday, January 26th – January 23, 2018
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


  1. That’s okay, Tim will simply lavish millions of Apple shareholders’ dollars on one of his pet progressive causes of the week in yet another transparent attempt to divert attention from Apple’s ongoing series of SNAFUs.

    1. You act as if this is an either-or question without any evidence for your assertion.
      I think it is more likely that you just disagree with the positions Apple has taken on those issues, and want to use Apple’s poor performance in certain areas to somehow indicate their positions on those issues are wrong or a waste of time. There’ s no logical connection there. Apple is a near-trillion-dollar-value company with tens of thousands of employees. There’s no reason that staking out positions Apple thinks leads to a better workforce and consumer base (one where people are treated justly, for example, rather than discriminated against) somehow has made it wait YEARs to update the Mac Pro, or to resolve technical difficulties building the HomePod.

      Your comment mostly just reveals that you don’t like those political positions, which you could have just said up front.

      1. Then I will clarify how I feel about it:

        Tim Cook needs to concentrate on Apple, and – as long as he wants to be CEO – put other concerns on the shelf. I’m not saying that he has to give up his religion, or his family – but he should be concentrating his efforts on his CEO job when he’s being the public face of Apple, which is pretty much all the time that he’s not behind the doors of his own home.

        And if you tell me that he’s already doing that, then I say that it’s time to start searching for a new CEO. Certainly we all knew that Tim was not Steve Jobs; equally certainly, I think most of us expected better performance, especially in products, from him.

      2. Anybody who is successful will attest to how much hard work AND HYPER FOCUS it takes to do anything well. Especially in technology.

        Tim Cook has spoken out numerous times about political and social issues. The problem with this is that it’s evidence of distraction.

        The tech industry is brutal, requiring massive hours of work and huge expenditures to make just one successful product.

        Steve Jobs talked about when he was serving as the CEO of Pixar and Apple, he was working so hard he’d come home so tired he couldn’t speak.

        Rick Tocchet told an interesting story about Sidney Crosby (hockey). Crosby would text him at 10 at night “You up?”. He was thinking about strategy for the next game. Tocchet said, “I learned a lot from Crosby about being a good coach.”

        The bottom line: you need hyper focus and obssession to make waves in the tech industry. Thinking too much about politics means you’re distracted.

        What we have under Cook is also the hard evidence: tons of completely blown dealines, massive stock constraints, and substandard products.

  2. “Apple to ship crippled, incomplete HomePod months late”

    This should make everyone worry about the upcoming Mod Mac Pro. The iMac Pro was disappointing because it is so expensive and non-upgradable by the consumer (void warranty).

    1. I was already worried about the “upcoming” Mac Pro. This SNAFU has just added to that level of concern.

      Maybe we’ll see an new Mac Pro by Christmas 2018 with pricing ranging from $9,000 to $20,000 for the base unit. It will likely ship with Meltdown and Spectre susceptible chips that the user has the option to replace in 2019 with non susceptible chips for a nominal $399 per chip. /s

      1. Yeah I’m beginning to think the “2018” Mac Pro may slip to 2019 with “the best of intentions” and when it does arrive receive a “I waited for THIS?” impression. My finger is still hovering over a PC workstation button despite the nasty implications of working with Windows. I CRAVE upgradeability most of all and the freedom that comes with that. Unbelievable miscalculation designing the 2013 Mac Pro. How could any sane CEO think pros would be happy & delighted to go from a Cheese Grater to a Doughnut/Trash Can? Seriously!?

        I have a feeling they are late on things not iPhone because they keep thinking of things to include instead of a more coherent & cohesive Jobsian vision from the start.

        1. Hey Pete, Apple…it just works…sometimes. Apparently Apple are releasing a car that is battery powered and has 4 wheels and a steering to allow the user for a change to be in control. Of course it has never been done before.

          1. Worth adding that once the battery degrades it will affect how fast you can turn the steering wheel and if you are lucky Siri will just have enough time say you have not reached your destination but do you want to know where the nearest Burger King is!

    2. Umm, anyone looking at Apple for the last… I don’t know, 15 years should be worried about the upcoming Mac Pro. Of course, many I know left Apple a long time ago and aren’t worried about anything they do anymore 🙂

  3. “Real artists ship.” — Steve Jobs
    Tim Cook should put that quote on the wall of his office. This focus on “perfection” is being over-emphasized over shipping in a timely manner. Apple still has a lot to offer post Steve, but if it falls, it’ll be in two areas:

    1. Innovation of products people didn’t know they needed until they saw the product.
    2. Slow innovation and delivery.

    They seem to be behind the curve in these two areas, and giving far too much weight on the “we will ship when it’s perfect” meme.

    1. But they aren’t shipping “perfect” either, especially with the software required to drive the hardware. It’s getting buggier by the minute with no end in sight.

        1. Nah, he didn’t want to say sorry for his own screw up. Good thing he’s such a genius at tech, he’s probably working in one of the top companies now… except for not. He couldn’t even hack it in Silicon Valley, that was made abundantly clear. SO, he turned tail and no one will even hire him now. Broadway is the PERFECT place for him. 🙂

  4. Apple inc. will ship when the hardware is functionally complete and not before. Further software updates providing progressively integrated capability is absolutely fine … their goal is to make products that leap way above anything the competition can hope to achieve (aka Touch ID, Face ID, Secure Enclave etc…). As usual, a headline aiming to get clicks, otherwise non news!!

  5. I’m really disappointed in Apple recently. I’ve been a Mac user 30 or so years, and I can’t honestly praise the company’s products all that much anymore. A Mac Pro that’s gone AWOL. A MacBook Pro that is horribly overpriced for it’s features. Inconsistent strategies (IE: headphone jack is “legacy” on a phone, but still included on tablets, and laptops). Tablets that are loosing their competitive edge in the marketplace. It just seems that Apple is not innovating and creating anymore, and focusing on raising prices and making their devices into fashion accessories instead of powerhouses of productivity, Home speakers that are not only late, but incomplete. An AppleTV product that is consistently a “hobby” item, and not a serious product. Missteps in iOS (bugs, changes to controls that are non-sensical). As MDN has stated- why is the worlds largest company by value having so many problems? Isn’t anyone driving focus anymore? And if not, what are they getting paid the amounts they are? I fear that Apple is setting themselves up for a nasty “reset” down the road, where the current crop of board members and c-level executives are extracting as much value as they can from the company, and will “let” some future people fix the problems.

      1. Yeah, in 1991/92, they were the largest company in the world, too. I’m sure this will be a repeat of the last time they were the largest company in the world. Yes.

  6. I honestly cant take it anymore, No faith in Tim Cook.
    Get rid of him. Just wondering what rabbit Tim pulls out of his ass to keep the stock moving up, and show huge profits, and hopefully huge Iphone sales. But how can the Campus be filled with thousands of employees who day in and day out see no innovation. Are the employees afraid to speak up? Tone def and fat.

  7. For me, this is just a nice to have if I like what it does. The thing I don’t understand is why Apple said anything at all if it is so far behind? I hope the rumors are not true but if they are, no bonuses for Apple’s Top Management Team. They’ve blown it on the Mac, iTunes still is not where it should be, the car thing is still a no start, we’ve got the iPhone slow down, no more Air Port, and there’s more. Why do any of the top people deserve bonuses or our trust?

  8. Have to totally agree with the MDN’s take on Cook, who is a money-man, thus transformed Apple as such and forever. I do am worried about Apple now being a phone company. One misstep in this highly competitive field, and so fast in rolling down the hill….

  9. Are you guys nuts? You haven’t heard a single note and you are all condemning the product and Apple. My bet is that the HomePod will have been worth the wait and the stock will soar again. Apple will not be the first to introduce the home speaker, but it will be a joy to listen to and the best in class. You guys will be wiping off the egg on your faces …AGAIN!

    1. Nobody’s criticizing the sound quality, dumbass.

      They’re criticizing the fact that Apple’s fat, lazy, obscenely-overpaid managers cannot get a fully-capable smart speaker (multi-room audio is a basic requirement) on the market well over 3 years after Amazon created the market.

    2. I certainly hope so. I have absolutely zero confidence this will happen, but I am hopeful.

      HomePod will certainly get snatched up by people who are 100% Apple and want such a device, but those who are not Apple centric will think twice before paying that much for what they will perceive as the equivalent of something that costs much, much less.

    3. Well to be a BasementCEO™…you have to be nuts…and to have the hubris laden ego of a clueless know all. It goes with the territory.
      It’s playing to the click bait clickers and affords MDN it’s usual schizophrenic love/hate rants about Tim Cook.

  10. I fear this thing will be an overpriced bomb. Google and Amazon are way ahead of Apple in this space and it’d take really compelling reasons for any of their customers to plunk down 350 bucks to switch to an Apple speaker. It’s gonna take compelling reasons for ANYONE to plunk down 350 bucks for an Apple speaker. I’m not confident in Apple in this case.

  11. For 2018 at least… one word… Sonos. No need to hassle with something that’s not fully baked when a Sonos 1 with Alexa will do everything and more than the 1.0 version of the HomePod. Maybe 2019…..

  12. This is ugly. Makes it look like Apple is some kind of a startup developing a “golden moment” product.

    Alternatively it feels like a bloated Microsoft operating system product with extensive need for drivers for every compatible product. On this product it seems Apple is collapsing under the weight of its own Airplay, Siri and Homekit technologies.

    Strategically, going it alone, they have not played their hand well at all. The press release announcement is even more disappointing. A really bad launch day for Apple. Product Management must be overwhelmed, or something. Clearly not the A-Team managing this product. Heads will roll over this one.

  13. If this story is remotely true, something is seriously wrong with Apple.

    Apple needs to “get back to basics”. It is very simple: UPDATE ALL OF YOUR COMPUTERS ONCE A YEAR and, on top of the line models, do a “spec” bump (more ram, storage, or faster processor or, even, a price adjustment (!!) ) every SIX MONTHS. Is that asking TOO MUCH from a 200 BILLION DOLLAR COMPANY??? !!!!

    Make your loyal customers feel like you want them!!!

    1. Agreed, they update their OS more than they probably need to, whilst individual apps could probably do with being updated outside of the OS cycle. They probably don’t need to update every component in every Mac every year, but there are certain things where they should be keeping them massively more current than they are. To be fair, these aren’t problems that have only appeared with Tim Cook, but they’ve certainly not improved and arguably they’re in a better position to do it now than they have been before.

    2. Well said, rp. Whew, as much as I have used and loved Apple products since 1986 Mac Plus, and stood by them in the ’90s, they are in my opinion, trying to make too many things. UPDATE ALL OF YOUR COMPUTERS ONCE A YEAR… etc. is RIGHT! Dagnabbedit.

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