When Apple introduced the HomePod, the hope was that the Cupertino company could make inroads into a market primarily dominated by Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo products, and Google Home. However, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the question is arising wondering if Apple was too late to the game, or is it just a matter of needing to improve Siri?
HomePod sound is great, Siri not so much.
Apple had been promoting the HomePod’s advanced high-quality sound, however thus far hasn’t enticed many consumers with a $349 price point.
In late March, Apple had lowered income forecasts and cut a few orders with Inventec Corp., one of the suppliers that builds the HomePod for Apple, in step with someone familiar with the matter.
Before everything, it had appeared like the HomePod might be a hit. Pre-orders were steady, and in the last week of January the HomePod grabbed approximately a third of the U.S. smart speaker market in unit sales. “Even if human beings had the ability to hear these things, it still didn’t deliver Apple another spike in sales” said Slice principal analyst Ken Cassar.
But can it order from Domino’s?
Apple had the chance to put the HomePod front and center, as part of a growing hub of smart devices and other home products that aren’t necessarily latched to the iPhone. But HomePod is not appearing to be up to the task, at least for now. Although the HomePod can provide high-quality audio, customers have determined it’s still too heavily dependent on the iPhone and has many shortcomings with Siri:
Veteran Apple analyst Shannon Cross says consumers assumed the HomePod would be able to do many of things the Echo and Google Home can do—answering questions, orderings pizzas and much more. Instead the HomePod is mostly limited to playing tunes from Apple Music, controlling a limited number of Apple-optimized smart home appliances and sending messages through an iPhone. That’s a serious disincentive, Cross says, when the Apple speaker costs $200 more than than most smart speakers.
Or it could be too that many customers are also waiting for AirPlay 2 functionality as well as gaining stereo sound with two HomePods. Apple’s annual WWDC conference is also a couple months away, so perhaps the company will introduce new features by then to boost sales.