Apple may have over-estimated HomePod demand; $349 smart speaker still available for February 9th delivery

“When a brand new Apple product goes on sale, early adopters tend to aim to hit the Apple Store app and website within the first few minutes to secure delivery on day one,” Ben Lovejoy writes for 9to5Mac. “But in the case of the HomePod, it seems this wasn’t necessary.”

“Some three days after pre-orders opened, Apple is still showing delivery on February 9, the first day it goes on sale,” Lovejoy writes. “This is true for both online purchases and for random Apple Stores I checked across all three launch countries, with full availability for both color options.”

“HomePod pre-orders went live on January 26 in the US, UK and Australia (technically Jan 27 given time zone differences) for delivery on February 9,” Lovejoy writes. “Pre-orders are also available at Best Buy, which also continues to show Feb 9 as the expected shipping and pickup date.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Perhaps Apple placed the initial HomePod production orders for an expected Christmas launch and simply left them alone despite the delay, figuring they could adjust future orders as supplies dwindled eventually.

Since the initial first impression reviews are strong, we expect HomePod will debut to rave reviews which will ramp up demand.

SEE ALSO:
Apple debuts four commercials for HomePod’s debut – January 27, 2018
Apple’s HomePod is actually a steal at $349 – January 26, 2018
Digital Trends previews Apple’s HomePod: Impressive sound coupled with strong privacy – January 26, 2018
Hands on with Apple’s HomePod: Attractive, ultra-high-quality speaker, an excellent Siri ambassador – January 26, 2018
Apple’s HomePod, the iPod for your home – January 25, 2018
One hour with Apple’s new HomePod smart speaker – January 25, 2018
Apple’s iOS 11.3 beta delivers AirPlay 2 with multi-room playback – January 25, 2018
How Apple is positioning the HomePod and why – January 24, 2018
How I got talked into buying an Apple HomePod despite my reservations – January 24, 2018
Tim Cook says audio quality puts HomePod ahead of ‘squeaky-sounding’ competition – January 24, 2018
Apple’s HomePod arrives February 9th, available to order this Friday, January 26th – January 23, 2018
Apple delays HomePod release to early 2018 – November 17, 2017
Apple reveals HomePod smart home music speaker – June 5, 2017

53 Comments

  1. More great news…
    Pipeline needs a kick in the ass.
    Maybe everyone already has some kind of bluetooth speaker from Google, Amazon, JBL, Sony, Bose any other company that works with cutting edge tech like a speaker,
    I wonder why this was not marketed thru their BEATS acquisition, or is that not the “target audience”.
    I’ll STFU if the stock is still above $160 on Friday. Lets see.

    1. Homepod is half baked. If Jobs did a product like this, he’d talk about Hal in Space Odyssey and how everyone has failed at true AI. Then he’d introduce Homepod with way more smarts than anything available, multi-room support, etc.

      Instead, we get a shell of this vision, where the underlying technology (Siri), is from a several years ago acquisition in which the people associated with that have long ago quit Apple and built a better version 2 of it.

      1. Have you even seen the breakdown of the technology in this thing with the speaker array and mic arrays etc? Obviously NOT or you wouldn’t be commenting on Siri as being the only tech behind it.

          1. … and yet rather less stupid than Alexa, the by far product leader, so maybe many are very happy with ‘stupid’ myth or reality. As for the version 2 as yet it is having a rather embarrassing set of persistent birth pangs at the moment with little sign they will improve in the foreseeable future.

            1. With Alexa there seems to be another factor involved beyond being smart/stupid. Practicality and fun are being promoted in Alexa via all the Skills that Alexa has access to. Siri will have to gather similar ‘audio’ app developers to even begin competing beyond sound quality.

  2. Sorry, but Apple was late to the evesdropping “HomePod” party as Google and Amazon got there first. First is NOT always best; however; MANY PEOPLE HAVE ISSUES WITH A EVESDROPPING DEVICE IN THEIR HOUSE……..Yes I realize the smartphone is one as well….!! PS– Siri still needs work!!!

    1. Well, see, that’s the thing, Bill—unlike Amazon Alexa and Google Home, Apple’s HomePod is *not* an eavesdropper. Don’t tar Apple with the same brush.

      1. Until there is some article/report that has monitored data transmissions for each smart speaker at ‘rest’ there is no actual proof yet that even Echo or Google Home send any audio data out that is not a request after ‘waking’ the device with the proper keyword.

        If someone does know of such an article however please share a link.

          1. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. It’s good the glitch was caught before it went out for public sale.

            Noticed Siri, for good or bad, was also mentioned as ‘always’ listening at the end of the article. Appears at least this CNN reporter is willing to put every similar tech in the same box till proven otherwise.

  3. $349 for something you can get from Alexa for $100 with more functionality.

    Sure Apple’s Homepod will sound better, but for 99% of people they won’t care.

    Apple is too late, too expensive and doesn’t have the ability to interact with the vast amount of peripherals who already have a foot hold in the market.

    Apple’s strength has mostly been, first to market with a new technology gain huge market share and firm foot hold while it peels off market share.

    Apple is so late to market with this they have no chance of making any threat to Amazon and at some point Homepod wil be one of those Apple hobbies that Apple drops, leaving people with yet another worthless Apple hobby they paid a premium for.

    1. Don’t foolishly equate HomePod with Echo. It doesn’t want to be be an Echo. It’s a smart speaker, not a listener.
      So many keep saying Apple needs to enter an Ech like device, and complain that it’s not a cheap with Echo functions. Just like they complained that the iPad was not the netbook they wanted, and just like they complained the Apple Watch wasn’t the cheap Fitbit they wanted.

      Get over it. HomePod is its own product. If you want a crappy speaker listening to everything in your living room and AI analyzing you to sell you crap at a price custom designed to get the most out of you, please buy an Echo and shut up. If you want the sound you normally have to pay thousands for, get a HomePod.

      1. Hiram no one serious about music will listen to their music on a Homepod. That’s what my AV system is for. Compared to that Homepod is a crappy speaker.

        The Homepod who is for idiots like you , I bet you bought those Bose wave systems and thought they were better then systems you pay “thousands” for. That’s all the Homepod is , an updated Bose wave. If you think the Homepod is going to be better then an AV system that cost thousands, then you’re dumber then you appear to be.

        1. “If you think the Civic is going to be better then an car that costs $90,000, then you’re dumber then you appear to be.”

          I guess that Honda is going out of business because it is aiming at something other than the Bugatti market.

          No, Honda builds cars for “idiots like me” who don’t have $90,000. Apple builds HomePods for “idiots” who don’t have the money to build a customized AV system for every room in their house where they might want to listen to music.

          I’ll agree that anybody who thinks the two situations are similar would be foolish… but I have yet to hear ANYBODY, inside Apple or out, make that argument except for people like you trying to set up a straw man to knock down.

          All that any responsible person has ever claimed is that the HomePod is a remarkably cost-effective speaker that will sound better than most consumer speaker systems twice to three times its price, with Siri and home control thrown in as well.

          All of this “late to market, bound to fail” talk is almost word-for-word what we heard about the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, and the Apple Watch. They have all done pretty well.

          The most revealing thing about all these criticisms are that they claim
          BOTH: (1) Nobody will buy the HomePod because they are too cheap and sound like crap;
          AND (2) Nobody will buy the HomePod because they cost too much and there is no mass market for quality sound.

          Either might well be true. We will see when the reviews and sales figures finally come out. I can guarantee that BOTH cannot be true.

          1. Seems to me from arguments presented in the comments both can be true because they appear to be said for different markets. (1) would be in competition with Home sound systems and (2) would be in competition with Sonos’, Echos, and Google’s offerings.

  4. I’m in Canada now.

    It’s not even on sale here.
    If the article is correct it’s only on sale in THREE countries.

    Apple sells in more than 60 countries
    It’s not on sale in big markets like China, Japan, rest of Europe besides UK etc.

    sheesh.. tomorrow we’ll get analysts saying Apple is doomed because ‘channel checks show that Homepod sales in Asia is very low. ”

    That said I believe Homepod sales will pick up gradually instead of a burst (just like the original iPod, iPhone, Watch ) as the word has to get out why it’s superior. Besides friends reviews, when knowledge that some of the technology that’s in it is only available in speakers costing $85,000 or more (as reported in audio sites) more people will think it’s worth it.

    1. I agree with some of the commentators that the launch and development of the HomePod has been problematic, like I believe its got Bluetooth but not enabled as of launch.

      Still, it’s got an iPhone 6 processor inside.
      I think the big differentiator (and in future products would be software and processing power of Apple audio gear vs rivals). The processing power of the HomePod allows it do all kinds of stuff speakers of that price range can’t do. (unfortunately some the gee whizz stuff is currently not enabled… )

      ——–

      the issue today is that Apple as I’ve past times complained about, is that they can be ‘brilliant’ technology wise and and at the same time ‘unfocused’ , leaving painful gaps in user enjoyment .

      side note Example : helped someone get from Android phone to iPhone yesterday. Even with ‘move to iOS’ app it was a pain. Can’t move data like WhatsApp etc (which millions of people use) easily across (problem with accessing Google Drive backups) . Had to pay for third party app , download data into a Mac and then into the iPhone. Pain. (maybe there’s an easier way to do it but I gave up googling for solutions). If Apple want android users to move : Make it easy…. (things like that Apple management don’t seem to get).

    2. It is possible that the improved Siri musicology ‘library’ doesn’t exist yet for other languages. Selling the HomePod into non-English countries w/o such a prominently announced function would be suicide for the product.

  5. I ordered one so I am buying one but at the end of the day Siri sucks. There are many great sounding speakers to buy so HomePod isn’t the thing to buy sound for when you combine many others which will connect to a television directly. Siri absolutely needs to perform much better

  6. this product rollout was extremely cumbersome. it was announced at wwdc, then we didn’t hear much about it other than it being delayed and then apple was like uhhhh – here you go. how much mind space does this product even have? can’t be much.

    i have sonos 5 which you take from my cold, dead fingers and i can’t see how a homepod would ever replace that.

    1. I think you are onto a key point here. I think a lot Apple folks are also Sonos users. So we already have access to Premium Sound. I have Siri on my wrist and on my phone. I have Sonos all over my house. I don’t see how a HomePod fits into my house? It won’t replace my Sonos Surround system, it won’t replace my Play 5’s. Sonos has plenty of drawbacks but I don’t see how Apple fixes any of those.

      1. I have two current version Apple TVs. Are use them as my means of getting into Netflix now that I’ve purchased them. The issue with HomePod is that you can’t connect it directly to the television and have to connect it to an Apple TV. I’m not going to use apples TV to connect to CBS NBC ABC because quite honestly I think apps are horrible way to manage it I can just use my television and it is so much easier. Why pay $1.99 to rent a television program that I can watch for free. Apple has one hell of a mess in this whole strategy

        1. Obviously, this device is not appropriate for you. It probably isn’t appropriate for me. That does not mean that it is inappropriate for everyone.

          HomePod is a wireless speaker. Wireless speakers don’t have wires. If your TV provided an AirPlay signal, it could connect directly to a HomePod. If all it has is a wired audio output, it can’t. If you need a speaker to connect directly to your TV, don’t buy a HomePod. You aren’t the target consumer.

          The HomePod is an Apple product intended for users committed to the Apple ecosystem. You can’t even set one up without an iOS device. If you don’t have one, you aren’t the target consumer. Buy an iPod touch or do without.

          If you have a Roku (or Amazon or whatever) streaming device that doesn’t support AirPlay, you can’t use HomePod to play audio from that device. You aren’t the target consumer. Buy an Apple TV or do without.

          A number of the most interesting features will only work if you have an Apple Music account. If you don’t, you aren’t the target consumer. Subscribe or do without those features.

          The HomePod only serves as a home automation hub for HomeKit. If your home automation uses an incompatible system, you aren’t the target consumer. Buy HomeKit devices or do without.

          Google and Alexa are more powerful AI systems because they do more of their processing off the device. Siri does more locally and uses secure anonymized channels for communication when it cannot do it locally. If you don’t care about privacy, you aren’t Apple’s target consumer. Buy something else.

          If you have a $1500 sound system, you never listen to music except in the room where it is located, and you don’t need any other HomePod function, you are clearly not a potential HomePod buyer. Don’t buy one. Nobody is telling you otherwise.

          There are, however, people in the Apple ecosystem who don’t have an expensive AV system in every room, who care about privacy, who want access to Siri without pulling out their phone, or need a Homekit hub. They are the target consumers. They may actually buy a HomePod and their money—believe it or not—is as good as yours.

  7. Been thinking about it..but decided to wait until it’s finished (all announced features)..Until then, I’ll wait and come back to thinking about maybe trying one (want two).

  8. The general public couldn’t care less about privacy or audio quality- that’s evident in the fact that Amazon, and to a lesser extent, Google, are selling these home surveillance devices quite successfully. So the 2 major selling points of the HomePod- privacy and audio quality- won’t sell many HomePods at all.

    On top of this, the voice-as-a-platform market has already been commoditized by cheap, low margin speaker-mics. Apple doesn’t play in commodity markets. So what it comes down to is the value of having an AI assistant, and what that platform really looks like. Amazon et al wants and needs the iPhone to die in order for the personal AI space to flourish for them and not Apple. And Apple needs to gain some serious ground with Siri vs Alexa and Google- something they dropped the ball on a while ago. Tim Cook doesn’t seem to have the magical vision to pull it off. He seems more interested in community organizing than strategizing in technology.

    The HomePod is another fantastically engineered device, no doubt. But unless Tim and Company boost Siri into the stratosphere, it’s game over for their AI platform ambitions.

  9. I think many are waiting to see it, hear it and read many reviews before buying. There will probably reach an inflection point where consumers are satisfied, have qualified the difference between Apple and it’s competitors, and THEN they’ll start flying off the shelf.

    1. It is also possible that people considering the competition are waiting till they also consider the HomePod before making a final decision to go with a competing product for one reason or another. Result, other products (most likely Sonos One and Google Max) may also experience ‘flying off the shelf’.

    2. Every time Apple announces anything new, it’s always reported on as being an expensive version of something which already exists. Initial reviews of the actual product generally either confirm that agenda or are massively favourable.

      However given a bit of time for people to use them in the real world, a more informed consensus is reached. It may be good news or bad news. Only time will tell, but initial reports are usually very unreliable.

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