No, Apple’s HomePod is not a ‘flop’

“The smart home has been a dream of technology buffs for a decade or more, but our hopes really increased around 2014 when Apple introduced HomeKit and Amazon’s Alexa platform really started taking off,” Travis Hoium writes for The Motley Fool. “Five years later, Alexa is more widespread, with over 100 million devices sold, but HomeKit has barely scratched the surface of its potential.”

“That may finally be changing in 2019, as Apple opens its arms to partners in the technology industry who want to integrate with Apple HomeKit and the Home app on nearly 1 billion smartphones around the world,” Hoium writes. “Finally, Apple’s smart home may be a reality.”

“What seems to have caused Apple to finally open up to partners was the utter flop of the HomePod, the ‘smart’ speaker that was supposed to be the hub a smart home could be built around,” Hoium writes. “The product has been a disaster by almost any measure, and Apple simply wasn’t able to keep up with the race to the (price) bottom for smart speakers.”

Apple's HomePod
Apple’s HomePod

 
Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Foolishness, indeed. Apple never sold the HomePod as a “hub a smart home could be built around.”

The mischaracterization here is akin to some hack writing an article calling the BMW M5 is a “flop” because (a) it’s not a dump truck and (b) Honda sold 500 times more vehicles.

Apple has always sold and continues to sell HomePod first and foremost as a high quality speaker for Apple Music.

Here’s the introductory paragraph from Apple’s HomePod webpage:

HomePod is a breakthrough speaker that adapts to its location and delivers high-fidelity audio wherever it’s playing. Together with Apple Music and Siri, it creates an entirely new way for you to discover and interact with music at home. And it can help you with everyday tasks — and control your smart home — all with just your voice.

Sentence one is about sound quality. Sentence two is about music. Sentence three finally mentions “smart home” and it’s inserted parenthetically, between dashes, basically as an aside. Maybe Apple will focus HomePod more on smart home features and functionality someday, but that day is not here, yet.

Furthermore, as per 40+ years of history, Apple doesn’t enter “the race to the (price) bottom” in any market it enters. Duh. Apple doesn’t make cheap, plastic “dots” in order to rack up unit share numbers. Apple doesn’t make junk to juice market share.

HomePod is not a flop. HomePod is a premium product owned by premium customers who subscribe to Apple Music, exactly as Apple intended it to be.

SEE ALSO:
After a year with Apple’s HomePods, I’m glad I bought them – February 28, 2019
Apple’s HomePod sold 1.6 million units last holiday quarter – February 20, 2019
Apple’s HomePod shipments surged 45% in holiday quarter – February 19, 2019

32 Comments

  1. Homepod has been a big hit in my family. It replaced our SONOS Play 5 in the family room. Kids and wife are LOVING music again. They hated the SONOS app.
    I bought one for my 87 and 85 year old in-laws and again they LOVE it. It gives them (and us) some peace of mind that they can call 911 if they fall and don’t have a phone nearby. Also it would be a hit for my in-laws and my wife as it helps them find their phone at least 3 times a day on average. I am buying another one for our home this month. Great product that works good and sounds GREAT.

    1. Indeed! AI and Machine Learning is predicted to write its own articles and literature and architecture design. It is likely not to be as original as much as suitable because it will rely on precedents. This means that it will succeed commercially and may even be better than Taylor Swift and Arianna Grande and CT Stop.

      1. Indeed! AI and Machine Learning is predicted to draw, paint and create its own art. It is likely to be as original as much as suitable because it will rely on precedents – namely my sh!!ty art which any computer will do a much better job of surpassing, mainly because while I am Incredibly humble, I am a terrible artist. This means that it will succeed commercially and may even be better than Taylor Swift and Arianna Grande and CT Stop and John Dingler, artist.

  2. I have two HomePods set up as a stereo pair – one on each side of a 14′ projected image from my $500 1080P ViewSonic projector – and the sound is superb. I love this arrangement. I can also navigate on the Apple TV menu to iTunes and play songs from my library or Apple Music. In this mode I get the Album art and even can click a button and have the lyrics next to the art.

    I believe Apple has boosted the volume since the first release. I have plenty of volume.

    Based on the excellent audio I will no doubt add more HomePods to the rest of the house.

  3. Bought it. Sounds great, but barely use it. I think its stupid to buy two for stereo and end up paying almost 700 bucks for it. I can get a system for a lot less with bigger and deeper sound.

    1. I can only assume you’re nattering about an audio jack not being present on the HomePod. This has been thoroughly debunked by audio engineers. Here’s a quote from a thread I found that summarizes the issue.

      “A HomePod is an array of seven tweeters, a woofer, six high-frequency microphones, and a low-frequency microphone. It uses all those microphones to determine the room response and then delivers eight separately tailored digital signals that are converted to analogue signals to the eight speakers to get the desired system response. The analogue signals are outputs. Suppose you had a “line in” delivering two analogue inputs. Just what would you do with them in such a system? If you just used a filter to feed the highs to the seven tweeters and the lows to the woofer, the result will be … extremely unimpressive.”

      The takeaway is HomePod is doing some impressive digital audio engineering. Use an analogue input and you lose all of that. Adding the analogue audio jack is what would cripple the HomePod.

      1. You are correct to assume that’s what I’m nattering about. It can’t be used with a turntable, receiver or CD player for instance. It is something I expect from well…. a speaker.

        Think about what it is you read…
        Audiophile level speakers do have audio jacks, yet somehow they manage….

        1. No speaker anywhere near the price point of the HomePod is doing the same audio processing. It isn’t possible to process eight separate digital signals in the way HomePod is doing it if your source is an analogue input. That’s just physics. Can you have a great speaker with an analogue input? Yes you can. Is it processing audio the same way the HomePod is? No, it is not and cannot. Imagine a five thousand dollar scaled up HomePod. You wouldn’t be able to beat that sound with anything. Digital beats analogue. Argue with physics if you don’t agree.

          1. Except that the Homepod, good sounding as it is, does not compare to a $5K unit either. And next you will tell me Bluetooth is good enough just because it’s digital. I don’t (yet) buy into that story on physics grounds.

            BTW, extremely high speed inexpensive AD converter chips have been around for decades, because , you know… physics.

            1. Further correction, it seems doesn’t Bluetooth stream either.
              An Echo Dot connected to a good extant speaker is a more versatile choice. In my case a B&W A7.

            2. I see you have decided to argue with physics after all. Analogue to digital conversion would be a less impressive method and would give you different results. Physics. It would also require non-trivial engineering and increased costs in the device. Physics. Your B&W A7 is a great speaker but it isn’t doing the same digital sound engineering that the HomePod is doing. Oh well. Have fun arguing against physics.

            3. Does not stream Bluetooth, does not have line-in, where it could…

              The 5K speakers don’t contain magic, they are either analogue or contain A/D or D/A converters, likely both. Also CDs are already digital and don’t require conversion.

              HomePod… only Apple Airplay, which is nothing more than a signal delivery vehicle. It’s crippled to be “Apple only”! Physics!

  4. One HomePod in the kitchen, one in the bedroom. Best 700 bucks I’ve ever spent! I am more than happy with the sound and the functionality. When smart TVs start accepting commands I will likely buy a third one for the living room. As usual Apple will not compete with the mass market lemmings race to the bottom.

  5. I find it hilarious how people downvote someone’s comment here when they say they love their HomePods. They appear to be upset that someone else has made a consumer choice that impacts no one else. Weird.

    1. “I find it hilarious how people downvote someone’s comment here when they say they love their HomePods.”

      It’s not as hilarious as it is sad. Most of these negative votes/comments come from automated response vendors contracted by Apple competitors.

  6. I’ve been very happy with the two Homepods I purchased. Siri leaves much room for improvement. But the greatest value I see in the Homepods – beyond their excellent sound quality – is the key feature that’s always missed by the pundits and the millions who buy cheap Amazon and Google products: PRIVACY. I simply do not want devices in my living spaces that are commoditizing absolutely every interaction I have with the device. So the value proposition of HomePod is abundantly clear to me.

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