Friday, Feb 12, 2021, 19:22 Hardware

3 Years Of The HomePod – Are The Apple Smart Speakers A Success?
A great deal of time passed between the announcement of the HomePod and the start of sales. Apple first revealed the new device in June 2017, a little less than a year later and the device hit the shelves on February 9th, 2018. Thanks to the infamous Apple rumor mill, however, rumors of an Apple smart speaker had already begun back in 2016 and a smart speaker was expected anyway after Amazon's release of Alexa. Soon after the product's launch, several complaints were made about the extent of the smart speaker's capabilities. Although the audio quality was impressive, functions with Apple's voice assistant "Siri" were lacking. This is partially why Apple never advertised the HomePod as a "Siri Speaker". For a while, significantly more affordable smart speakers from competitors (such as Alexa and Google) out-classed the HomePod.

Equipped With The Same Hardware As In 2017
3 years later, and there are still no changes to the HomePod with respect to hardware. In 2019, there was a decrease in price, and Siri was made more reliable, along with several improvements to the speaker's functions. Apple also added a more affordable option to the HomePod lineup, albeit much later than expected – the HomePod mini, released last Fall and has been available for purchase since November. Delivery waits of up to 2 months have documented the smaller smart speaker's popularity on the market (US$99 vs. US$299). Even now, 1/4 of a year after sales start, there's still a delivery wait time of 1-2 weeks due to demand for the speaker.

HomePod mini & HomePods








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The Homepod, A Success?
There are differences of opinion for the matter as to whether or not the HomePod itself has been a success. Apple, at the very least, is likely to have expected better sales during the product's launch – the HomePod itself never achieved high market shares, it was far too expensive for that. Last year, Alexa and Google based smart speakers accounted for about 95% of the market. The outcomes for and effects of the HomePod mini are still unknown, even though the product has shown an initial peak in interest, considerable delays in delivery times could also slow down potential growth. According to market experts, Apple has the best chance of achieving success in the smart speaker market with the HomePod mini – although smart speakers from Apple still continue to be a niche product. In any case, Apple has failed to revolutionize the smart speaker market, as others are still setting the tone even 3 years later. Part of measuring the HomePod's success depends on how the product's success is framed. If one measure's the product's success based on whether or not it revolutionized the market, then the product was certainly unsuccessful.