HomePod Struggling to Gain Market Share Alongside Cheaper Amazon Echo and Google Home Speakers

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. Hmac macrumors 68020

    May 30, 2007
    Midwest USA
    Peoples’ needs/wants are all different. HomePod is a pretty good speaker with a lame voice assistant. I don’t really care much about speaker quality and don’t ascribe to Apple’s frantic attempts to sell music. I’m in the group that prefers a good voice assistant and indifferent to the music and speaker quality that Apple is hawking as HomePod’s big selling point.
  2. gtg465x, Feb 6, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019

    gtg465x macrumors regular


    Sep 12, 2016
    I wanted to love HomePod, but here’s what led me to return the one I bought recently:

    1) I bought a pair of Sonos Ones at the same time, and found that I prefer the sound produced by the stereo pair of Sonos Ones to a single HomePod. The HomePod has amazing bass, but it overpowers the mids and highs and doesn’t sound as natural or balanced as I would like when listening to music, in MY opinion. That’s subjective, and some will have differing opinions. Also, the HomePod just couldn’t match the separation and soundstage of the Sonos Ones placed 7 feet apart. Music from the single HomePod just sounded like it was coming from a single area. That might sound obvious, but some reviews said otherwise. A pair of HomePods might open things up and would probably sound even better than a pair of Sonos Ones, but that would be more than I want to spend for a single room considering the other drawbacks below.

    2) The Sonos Ones support playback from non-Apple devices and don’t lock you into the Apple ecosystem. Like the HomePod, they support AirPlay 2, but you can also play music to them from any Alexa enabled device, and from Android devices via the Sonos app. I’m solidly in the Apple ecosystem now, but just a few years ago I preferred Android, so in 5 years, who knows which I’ll prefer, but I don’t want to have no way to play from an Android device in case I ever decide to switch. Apple could have at least included Bluetooth to allow Android users in families of mixed devices to connect.

    3) There’s no path to expansion with HomePods other than to buy more HomePods. As someone who has a lot of smart lights and devices, I want voice control throughout my house, but I can’t afford to put a HomePod in every room, and it would be massive overkill anyways for rooms where I don’t listen to music, but want voice control. Apple needs to release a much cheaper HomePod Mini. Since the Sonos Ones integrate into the Alexa ecosystem, I can add Echo Dots all around my house and not have to deal with multiple different voice assistants like I would with HomePod. Also, Sonos offers a huge range of speakers, so if I want even better audio quality than a stereo pair of HomePods could offer, I could have that with Sonos, or I can add a Sonos sound bar to my living room, and have the Sonos Ones double as surround sound speakers.

    Honestly, the fact that Siri can’t do as much as Google Assistant or Alexa doesn’t even bother me. It’s the three points I listed above that led me to returning the HomePod. If Apple could add equalizer settings or a more balanced sound profile option, reduce the normal price of the HomePod to $250 (already hit that price on sale during Black Friday, so seems possible), add Bluetooth, and release a HomePod Mini at $100 or less, that would solve the holdups I have.
  3. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Actual world in 2019 featuring people under the age of 30 (conducted by Facebook even though both participants are sitting on the same couch):

    A: "I just shared a song with you on AcmeStream"
    B: "I don't have an AcmeStream account"
    A: "There's a 30 day free trial"
    B: "Neat - just let me give them my card number (clickety)... mother's maiden name (clickety)... clicked the box that says I accept 30 pages of T&C... install AcmeStream app... yes it can use my location, phone history.... Aha..."... music streams from speaker.

    (31 days later B's credit card is charged with $19.95 plus $1.50 surcharge ascertainment service surcharge - oh, and he finds the CEO of AcmeStream sitting on his couch and not only pairing his phone with the HiFi but also drinking a generous glass of B's special reserve vegan Jagermeister* as permitted by clause 37 subsection 17b of the AcmeStream terms of use...")​

    ...because if you see anything wrong with that picture then why the heck are you even thinking about smart speakers?

    :) (typed as colon-hyphen-bracket even if some silly modern software turns it into an emoji, thank you very much!)

    Edit: Gahhh! see what I mean?

    PS: * I was going to say 20-year-old Scotch, but actually have no idea what millennials drink.
    PPS: Kids - get of my lawn!
  4. brian3uk macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2016
    Privacy obviously isn't a reason enough for most people, or amazon and google wouldn't sell as many products, and people would actually quit facebook instead of just whining about it. I agree that they are not trustworthy, but the majority of people are not worried. The government takes little action on privacy matters, so most people just shrug it off. The sales figures prove that. Apple cannot rely on privacy/security alone to distinguish their product and validate what they charge.
  5. BigBoy2018 macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2018
    Well all I was trying to convey to you is that some of us have different ways of socializing and different ways of using our little wireless speakers, since your posts seemed to convey a snotty vibe that for anyone who would even consider wanting to pair with your precious homepod would be a completely uncouth boor who wouldnt be allowed in your house.
    Just understand thats not how some others regard their little wireless speakers; and not how some others socialize.
  6. mrochester, Feb 6, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019

    mrochester macrumors 68000

    Feb 8, 2009
    I understand people socialise in different ways and that for many people the inability to connect to the HomePod with Bluetooth is not an issue. I was just trying to make you understand that.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 6, 2019 ---
    I don’t think people realise how valuable their data is.

    It would be really helpful if someone developed a tool that told you how much in monetary terms your data was worth so that people can make an informed decision about if/where to sell their data.
  7. Spankey macrumors 6502a

    Sep 30, 2007
  8. lederermc macrumors 6502


    Sep 30, 2014
    I am people and I do care about sound quality. I don not give a rats ass about Siri since I can alway yell at my phone or watch instead the speaker across the room.
  9. nt5672 macrumors 68000

    Jun 30, 2007
    Well you should look at the APIs used for developing code. Apple does not make much of an attempt to keep them compatible with older devices. For example, NSPersistentContainer, iOS 11 only, when it will work perfectly fine on iOS 9.0 and above if Apple allowed it. The base core data store and APIs are the same. But now, as a developer, I have to either write my own shims or drop support of iOS 9. Apple's APIs are full of this type of subtle, we're not going to support older devices, but you can if you can afford another dozen or so developers. Which I can't so I move to the new APIs because they are more reliable, more expressive, provide new functionality, and require less code. In the process I can see in the logs that I lose many users with older devices.

    Look deeper past just the hardware and you'll see it. Look at the applications that don't get updated, because Apple drops or changes the APIs in a non-compatible way and it becomes too costly to update the code.

    What to know why that old app never got update, because Apple wants you to buy a new device. I can't even build and debug software released 2 years ago, because the current development tools don't work on code that old. Yes, I can and do maintain either hardware or a virtualized OS container, with the old tools for each OS release, but that is a lot of work.

    Most of the time I do what Apple wants and bump the minimum required OS and move on, not because I want to, but because the alternative is too expensive for a small developer. Apple is like that.
  10. AppleScruff1 macrumors G3


    Feb 10, 2011
    Exactly. There are hundreds of millions of iOS devices in use. It is not a small number.
  11. Shanghaichica macrumors G3


    Apr 8, 2013
    It’s the only one that can do the basics like calling and sending text messages, even via WhatsApp.
  12. MiamiC70 macrumors 6502

    Oct 16, 2011
    I’m going to file this under “No ****”. Lower the ****ing price Timmy!
  13. jeremiah256 macrumors 65816


    Aug 2, 2008
    Southern California
    It’s not that, it’s that between non-tech entities (Target, Home Depot), financial institutions (banks, credit rating agencies), and if you’ve ever served or worked for the government, even federal agencies (Veterans Administration, OPM), at this time Americans don’t have a very many protections for their data.

    I’ve never had to change my credit card due to Amazon knowing it’s probably time to buy more dog food, nor Google’s algorithm reading my mail and letting me know the dog food I ordered has shipped.

    America needs a version of GDPR for any real progress can be made in protecting your data and privacy.
  14. cardfan macrumors 68000

    Mar 23, 2012
    Awesome. Agree. Siri will never be google. The HomePod does pick up voice commands very well. If I wanted google Assistant or Alexa it’s as simple as spending 30 dollars.

    But yes for the thousandth time if I was the least bit confident Apple would release some kind of 5.1 system where homepods played a part I’d be a lot more interested. It’s also hardware/software integration. It’d have to have Apple TV in mind.
  15. Rocwurst, Feb 6, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019

    Rocwurst macrumors newbie


    Nov 19, 2015
    3.6 million HomePods sold in the USA alone at 349 dollars each generated almost 1.4 Billion dollars revenue for Apple (not including ongoing Apple Music subscriptions etc).

    Then there are the 1.4 billion Apple devices that put Siri on the wrists, pockets, laps and desks of the most lucrative demographic in the world.

    As a result, Siri dominates the Voice Assistant market in terms of actual usage to the tune of 45.6% marketshare compared to Google Assistant on 28.7%, Alexa on 13.2%, Samsung's Bixby on 6.2% and Microsoft's Cortana on 4.9%.

    It is apparent that it is Amazon's 46m Alexa-powered Echo devices and Google's Assistant that are falling short where it matters.
  16. douglasf13 macrumors 68000

    Jul 2, 2010
    Well, sure, but I think people pick Alexa largely due to cost.
  17. fairuz macrumors 68000


    Aug 27, 2017
    Silicon Valley
    Well it sucks no matter whose pairing method it is because whoever works on this stuff seems to think people need security when pairing speakers. So you always have to do something on both ends. Plus it's usually some complex thing like holding a button X seconds with no feedback, and/or it doesn't work reliably. This shouldn't have ever been a problem, yet it always has been.
  18. l0gan5 macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2010
    Cambridge. UK
    I recently bought a HomePod in my kitchen and a stereo pair of Sonos One's in my living room. I use the HomePod later in the evening while I'm sat at the table working and the kids are asleep upstairs. I like the amount of bass it kicks out at lower volumes.

    But when I go next door and fire up the Sonos pair, there is no comparison (for the same money).

    I'll probably keep the HomePod but the Sonos are way more versatile.
  19. Hmac macrumors 68020

    May 30, 2007
    Midwest USA
    Siri dominates the voice assistant market only because it's the only game in town for iPhones. Siri doesn't even come close to being the choice for home-based voice assistants, including the entire smart home experience.
  20. Rocwurst, Feb 7, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019

    Rocwurst macrumors newbie


    Nov 19, 2015
    Siri dominates in usage market share despite the fact that there are more Android devices out there worldwide. Why is it that Google Assistant isn't the one doing the dominating if it were simply a question of device numbers?

    I control and monitor my entire house with Siri including the backyard Pool pump and pool heating, the robot vacuum cleaner, all the lights, the security cameras, multiple smart switches, 2 Apple TVs, a HomePod and multiple Macs. The only thing I can't control so far is my ducted Air conditioning, but that doesn't work with Alexa or Google either. And I have the reassurance that my home is far more secure and private than if it was controlled using Amazon or Google.
  21. DownUnderDan macrumors newbie


    Apr 19, 2018
    Hobart Australia
    Develop and launch late to market. Pitch price like you're the boss.
    Result six percent market share.

    Apple should have asked Microsoft how Windows Phone went. It was the same strategy.
  22. cardfan macrumors 68000

    Mar 23, 2012
    MS couldn’t do a normal ui. It’s really kind of amazing how they couldn’t leverage windows and Xbox. A special fail. That said I still think they could given the right leadership behind mobile. Should’ve bought palm.
  23. Obi Wan Kenobi macrumors 6502

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    Mar 9, 2011
    London, UK
    Other explanations exist, of course, however the track wasn't cancelled repeatedly. My kids liked the newer version (not knowing any better) and so it was played through a number of times (2 of the 5 attempts). But that version hasn't played once since I called it up on my iPhone using Siri.
  24. JRobinsonJr macrumors 6502a

    Aug 20, 2015
    Arlington, Texas
    Fair enough. Had to ask the question though. I too have had issues with Alexa, but for me it's actually BETTER than Siri. My best guess is that it's a combination of my personal history and what everyone else is asking for.
  25. CreepyAF macrumors regular


    Sep 23, 2018
    Behind you
    i just purchased a fire stick tv 4k for use with kodi. is there a way i can still use my homepods for audio? i hate my yamaha soundbar...

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