HomePod Pro: Apple takes the high end in home audio

Apple's HomePod
Apple’s HomePod

Daniel Eran Dilger for Roughly Drafted:

After an initial unveiling at WWDC17, Apple ultimately shipped HomePod early last year… Quite obviously, Apple wasn’t seeking to compete against $30 WiFi mics. HomePod is a high quality speaker that enhances the HomeKit ecosystem and makes hands-free Siri that much easier…

Critics declared HomePod dead on arrival from its first launch, with most focused on the price of the device compared to the cheapest of Alexa alternatives. Yet Apple’s initial sales volumes– about 4 million last year, according to Catalyst’s estimate– delivered revenues of around $1.4 billion. That’s more money than Amazon would have brought in from sales of 46 million Echo Dots, and its low end Alexa products are not nearly as profitable, if they make any money at all.

MacDailyNews Take: As always, it’s not unit share of the total market that Apple cares about, it’s share fo the premium end of the market – where customers of, say, speakers, have disposable income and the proven will to spend it on things like, say, subscription music services.


  1. What’s the high-end market share percentage? Like 5% maybe? C’mon Apple, you can do better than that and still make some profit. Why does Apple need to limit itself to such a small market. I’m not saying Apple has to go after Echo Dots and Echo Spots, but how about the mid-range market. They’d still be able to get people to buy music subscription services and maybe a lot more than just catering to the high-end consumers.

    Greedy big investors are looking for market share percentage and growth percentage, so I wish Apple would stop thinking only the high-end market matters. Amazon was able to gain huge amounts of smart speaker market share and growth in a couple of years and was praised endlessly for it. Apple sells a few high-end HomePods and it’s immediately declared a failure. What kind of mind-share is that creating for the product whether it’s true or not. Apple needs to get off that high horse of theirs and stop thinking their way of running a business is the only way. Sometimes a company has to bend so as not to break. If Apple cares anything about shareholders, they can’t just always take a few crumbs and leave the rest of the table to competitors. Certainly, no one is praising Apple for only selling high-end HomePods. Actually, it’s just the opposite.

  2. Apple needs to deliver a complete high end surround sound solution which integrates a HomePod-like device. In other words, you could buy one HomePod and then add a second for stereo sound, then a sub, for a 2.1 system, and eventually build a 5.1 or 7.1 surround system. That might mean that the surround sound speakers are not “intelligent” which could make them cheaper.

    Another option would be for Apple to build a receiver with HomePod brains, which then leverages your existing surround sound system.

    (Does AppleTV deliver all the functionality of the HomePod?)

    I already have two fairly high quality 5.1 surround sound systems in my house. Don’t need more speakers.

  3. The idea that a HomePod is high end audio is simply ludicrous. Anyone….ANYONE who thinks the sound that comes out of a HomePod is even remotely high end is completely unaware of what high end audio is. Let’s be very clear here, Apple’s HomePod is not even remotely close to being high end. It’s mid grade at best and even that is being extremely generous. High end audio is not played in the $349 price game. Not. Even. Close.

    1. Bravo. Spot on.

      I would only add that no system that attempts to lock the user into streaming audio rental using compressed DRM-encoded audio files will ever be considered remotely “high end”. The profits come from enslaving the uncritical listeners to a lifetime subscription of poorly curated, low quality noise.

    2. When I say high-end I mean the relative high-end in price. I certainly don’t think the HomePod is high-end audio. However, it may be considered high-end in terms of smart speakers when compared to most of that market. Apple thinks it’s a high-end audio device but that’s just Apple marketing. I’m not sure if they’re fooling anyone except the most naive consumer.

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