The Strategist

Apple's HomePod will miss Christmas sales

11/21/2017 - 05:18

Apple acknowledged that, despite of all the promises made at the presentation, the company will not be able to release HomePod, a Siri-based speaker, before the New Year.

"We are eagerly waiting for people to try HomePod, Apple's revolutionary wireless home speaker, but we need a little more time before it is ready for our customers…We will begin shipping to the US, UK and Australia in early 2018. "

Recall, HomePod is a round, non-autonomous audio speaker. Apple is trying to combine two product categories: wireless Hi-Fi acoustics in the spirit of Sonos devices and smart speakers with built-in voice assistants (Amazon Echo, Google Home). The company sees HomePod primarily as a musical device, but the built-in voice assistant Siri can hear commands from any corner of the room.

Two HomePod are able (like AirPods headphones) to automatically unite in a stereo pair for better sound. The speaker’s “brain” is the A8 processor used in the iPhone 6. For the sound quality, there are seven high-frequency directional loudspeakers hidden at the bottom of the device under a shell mesh (each with its own amplifier), a 4-inch subwoofer, and six microphones.

The latter are needed to implement the "smart" functions of HomePod: adjustment of the sound to the situation in the room (the distance to the walls, the location of the furniture, etc.), as well as recognition of voice commands by the Siri assistant from anywhere in the room (and even when loud music plays) . Apple priced its first device in a new category for $ 349.

Not releasing the novelty before the New Year and skipping, therefore, the season of pre-holiday excitement shopping, Apple gave odds to competitors who recently came up with a number of similar products. So, Sonos, the market leader in the US for high-quality wireless home audio systems, has a Sonos One column. For 199 dollars, the buyer receives high quality sound, built-in Amazon Alexa and the promise that the device software will support both Siri and the Apple wireless media protocol AirPlay 2 in the foreseeable future. If the built-in voice assistant is not needed, Sonos has more advanced parts sound wireless speakers Play: 3 and Play: 5.

Another alternative is the Google Home Max speaker, clearly developed as a direct competitor to HomePod. Yet, it will not work for residents of the Apple ecosystem: the device does not support the voice control of the Apple Music service, but instead offers YouTube Music, Pandora, Spotify, Google Play Music, TuneIn and iHeartRadio. The device will cost $ 50 more than HomePod, when it goes on sale (until it happens).