Tim Bajarin: Why Apple needs a ‘HomePod mini’

“Apple has some real headwinds when it comes to the HomePod’s ability to gain market share,” Tim Bajarin writes for PC Magazine. “However, if Apple can sell a projected 5-6 million in calendar 2018, it could end the year making the most money and profit in this market segment.”

“In my home, I’ve been using Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot, the Google Home Mini, and Apple’s new HomePod for getting information, playing music on demand, ordering stuff online, and controlling lights and other connected devices around the house,” Bajarin writes. “By far, the best device I have is Apple’s HomePod for its superior sound quality and ease of use with compatible devices; I have also found Siri surprisingly accurate.”

“Going forward, Apple needs to follow what its rivals have done and create a mini HomePod,” Bajarin writes. “In my house, I have smart speakers in my bedroom, study, and even the master bathroom. Apple could stand out with high-quality speakers in a HomePod Mini. I’d be willing to pay $99 for a HomePod Mini if the speaker quality was at least four times better than what’s on Echo Dot and Home Mini. The battle to control the smart home will go through the smart speaker. ”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We expect Apple has plans to move down market eventually. For now, HomePod is doing what Apple does: It’s taking the high end of the market; meaning the type of customers who have the means and the will to deck their homes out with smart lights, smart locks, etc. and leaving rivals to compete amongst themselves for the less desirable customers (see iPhone vs. Android).

Once they finally get something shipping in quantity, it’ll be fun to watch how quickly Apple takes the top end of the market away from Amazon’s Echo since Apple’s solution will certainly have unique advantages within Apple’s ecosystem that makes it the obvious choice for Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch users. — MacDailyNews, May 10, 2017

Why Apple’s HomePod targets home entertainment, not a voice-first mobile-free world – March 6, 2018
Apple HomePod hits 3 percent in U.S. market share – February 22, 2018
Here are the Siri commands you’ll use most with your HomePod – February 21, 2018
How to control your home with the HomePod – February 20, 2018
Jean-Louis Gassée: The trouble with Apple HomePod reviews – February 20, 2018
Steve Crandall: Apple’s HomePod is the next big step in home audio – February 13, 2018
Apple HomePod: The audiophile perspective plus 8 1/2 hours of measurements; HomePod is 100% an audiophile-grade speaker – February 12, 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


      1. I may have a wider ranging collection of music from many eras, styles, etc, but attempting to train Siri has been a disaster She doesn’t serve up accurate selections nor variety.

        Ask Siri to play songs composed by Ritchie Blackmore. Will she know any of his songs from the last 25 years?

        Ask Siri to play albums recorded live by the Barenaked Ladies.

        Ask Siri to play songs from the band Live. Good luck.

        Ask Siri to play instrumental Christmas tunes from the Boston Pops. You are more likely to hear “More Than a Feeling” than classics conducted by the great Arthur Fiedler. With singing.

        How about asking Siri to play songs released by Blue Note, or recorded at Muscle Shoals, or backed by the Funk Brothers, the Motown house band.

        Ask Siri to play a bootleg of Bob Seger playing “Fortunate Son”, a CCR tune. Siri wouldn’t have a clue.

        Ask Siri to play all Genesis albums with Peter Gabriel. See how this is working out so far?

        Ask Siri to play the first song written by Carole King, Siri wouldn’t know anything she did before Tapestry.

        Ask Siri to play a David Bowie song featuring Stevie Ray Vaughan on guitar. Any one will do.

        Until Siri comes anywhere close to understanding music, all you are going to hear are billboard top 40 radio edit releases from major labels, with constant pressure to push the same few current pop songs that the big labels are pushing this month. I don’t find value in a musically illiterate voice referring me to Wikipedia.

  1. If Apple is able to design a successful HomePod mini, good for them. Don’t know how far downgraded an experience it will be compared to the drop from Echo to Echo Dot. IMO the primary reason the mini/dot versions of Google and Amazon’s devices ‘work’ is that the Voice Assistant is strong enough to be front and center. Siri needs a lot of work before any HomePod mini is even a twinkle in Apple’s eye.

  2. Let’s have a HomePod STEREO first. Then worry about perpetuating Siri all over the house.

    I personally consider ALL of these ‘AI’ chatter boxes to be ‘Gee Whiz!’ dull edge technology. We have a long long way to go before I’d consider these thingies remotely ‘intelligent’. For now, they’re clunky novelties that are more disappointing than useful. They’re certainly a step up from Apple’s old PlainTalk system in many respects. Then again, there are aspects of Siri ad nauseam that are a step backwards from the personalized scripting capabilities of PlainTalk.

    The Dark Age of Computing plods slowly along…

    1. It is rather sad that people seem to be happy to listen to music in mono rather than stereo.

      The people that laud the sound quality of the current crop of “smart speakers” must be used to listening to music through their phones…

      1. The talking boxes still have that ‘Gee Whiz!’ sheen on them. The future laughs at them, especially the part about them being “AI”. Kind of desperate.

        Why the stereo issue bugs me so much is that Apple PROMISED stereo, but has instead pulled another Apple Bungle®™.

        I’m thinking about my Business Breathing theory. I think it’s time for Apple to reorganize. Layoff the dead wood and bring in new, fresh, enthusiastic talent. I’m sure we could come up with a reasonable list of Apple dead wood here at MDN.

  3. What I’d like (unless I just haven’t figured out how to do it yet), is to able to set up a HomePod through my wifi network at school (from what I’ve read, you can’t set it up on an “enterprise” network). I had planned to buy several HomePods but until/unless that option becomes reality, it wouldn’t make any sense.

  4. It’s not really a case if moving down market though is it? People just don’t need a HomePod to play music to that quality in every room, but they could have a use for the ability to invoke Siri in multiple rooms. There is no way I’d pay thousands of pounds to get multiple homepods (especially if I already have good speakers in a room), but a device with a decent mic for using Siri would be good.

  5. HomeSub too please. Heck, make it look like the Harmon Kardon sub that was complimentary to the candy colored iMac that I couldn’t afford in college. HomePod Mini (if ever a real thing) absolutely needs some sort of soundbar mode for pairing with Apple TV, would make good rear channels too.

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