Tim Cook says audio quality puts HomePod ahead of ‘squeaky-sounding’ competition

“Tim Cook on Tuesday offered a peek into Apple’s ambitions for HomePod amid a landscape littered with smart speakers powered by Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, suggesting the key to success lies in Apple’s ability to seamlessly integrate hardware and software,” Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider. “The Apple chief questions whether licensing Alexa and Google Assistant to third parties, then launching first-party products like Echo and Google Home, is a counterintuitive strategy. ‘Competition makes all of us better and I welcome it,’ Cook said. ‘(But) if you are both trying to license something and compete with your licensees, this is a difficult model and it remains to be seen if it can be successful or not.'”

“Cook went on to tout HomePod’s sound quality,” Campbell reports. “‘We think one thing that was missing from this market was a quality audio experience, a very immersive audio experience,’ he said. ‘Music deserves that kind of quality as opposed to some kind of squeaky sound.'”

“With Amazon clearly in the driver’s seat,” Campbell reports, “it remains to be seen whether Apple can convince consumers that sound quality and a premium user experience trump Alexa’s wide array of service integrations and lower hardware price points.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully HomePod sells far better than Apple’s last attempt at selling sound quality, the iPod Hi-Fi. The basic ability for HomePod to play music throughout the house with multi-room support at launch certainly would have helped sales, but, of course, a company the size of Apple can only do so much.

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Apple reveals HomePod smart home music speaker – June 5, 2017
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Apple delays AirPod rollout – October 26, 2016
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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. Unless Siri is made to be a lot better, this will fail.

      I have no doubt Apple has gotten this thing to sound really good, but with lots of competent competition in this space, it’s just another expensive Bluetooth speaker.

      And I already have a HomePod: my remarkable Bose Soundlink Mini II (best Bluetooth speaker ever) and my Siri (dumb) powered iPhone.

  1. Totally necessary sarcasm. MDN is being polite. Apple feels like a company that is resting on its laurels.

    I depend on them to innovate and sell

    Let’s see what their sales are. Days away.

  2. Some kind of squeaky sound? Wow. If he graduated college with that kind of useless language, then I’m sure I could do it. 🙂

    Devin Prater Assistive Technology Instructor certified by World Services for the Blind JAWS certified


  3. You couldn’t pay me to allow Google or Amazon easy hack spy ears into my home. It seems to benefit Google and Amazon much more than any benefit to the consumer. I guess if your computer is your only friend you want it to talk to you. It probably is only selling as a gimmick and no one would want to ever buy a second one, unless perhaps the second one had quality sound.

  4. I’ve been waiting for these for some of the smaller rooms in my house. Main selling point for me was AirPlay 2. During parties I want the music playing everywhere and to sound good. Other times I want to my wife to be able to listen to music in one room and maybe play something else elsewhere.

    A major selling point for HomePod is HomeKit and Apple Music integration, which means relying on Siri. It MAY be getting better, but whenever my wife is around I look like a fool trying to get her to use Siri for things. It’s always iffy at best using normal human language. I feel like I have to learn and memorize very specific commands still. She’s never going to do that. Until it works almost always, and intuitively, it’s just easier to fish around for the phone and get the app to do whatever needs doing.

  5. it will happen soon enough but, siri needs voice recognition to address everyone in the home by name including friends, etc. and intensity of interaction settings so siri speaks to you about any number of subjects even when she is not addressed ..you know ––like hey there. i’m self-aware. settings to allow her to address you or others even when she is not, herself, addressed so, she becomes more personable. hey, solomé, did you hear about the rabid dog on campus, i think you should know, i don’t want you to get attacked and your flesh viciously ripped from your bones ..oh, and did you hear that tim’s going to be in the parade, are you there, i hear you breathing, ash and ragweed are very high today, you know how sneezy you get. this would be a bit like the robot in the movie ‘interstellar’ humor settings, honesty settings, so much fun. she or he would become so acquainted with you, so customized, it would be like joi in bladerunner 2049. of course, this could be the final straw in alienation.

  6. Time will tell. In an Apple Insider podcast, Dan Dilger said this was not supposed to be a Siri Box to compete with the Alexa Box. Rather, it’s supposed to be a sophisticated speaker which main purpose is sound, bringing expensive technology to the average person. We shall see.

    1. Sounds right, I bet this in one way or another a continuation of the iPod Hi-Fi, and almost certainly the audiophile legacy of Steve Jobs. It’s pretty cool in a way to bring high-quality sound to the masses, the problem is that smart speakers are the rage and this doesn’t fit the mold of something that’s cheap enough to buy five of and spread throughout your house.

      Most people don’t really care about high quality audio, ironically Apple is most responsible for this by providing over a billion tinny-sounding EarPods to people with their iPhones and iPods. Now the spin has to be: “You know those thousands of hours of music and podcasts you listened to for the past 17 years? That was shite. You’ve never really heard quality until now with HomePod and a lifetime Apple Music subscription!”

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