HomePod Turns Two, Lower-Priced Model Might Launch Later This Year

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Today marks two years since Apple released the HomePod, with deliveries to customers and in-store availability having begun February 9, 2018 in the United States, Australia, and United Kingdom.

At launch, the HomePod cost $349, but Apple reduced its price to $299 in April 2019. Apple has never disclosed HomePod sales, instead grouping the speaker under its "Wearables, Home, and Accessories" category, which set a quarterly record of $10 billion in revenue over the final three months of 2019.


However, much of the growth of Apple's wearables business has been attributed to the Apple Watch and AirPods. Many estimates place the HomePod's worldwide market share at around just five percent.

Pricing is the HomePod's biggest obstacle. The speaker's two largest competitors in the Amazon Echo and Google Home have low-priced models that frequently retail for $49 or below, whereas only one HomePod model is available for $299. That may change in the near future, however, as Bloomberg last year reported that a lower-priced HomePod with fewer tweeters may launch as early as this year:
Apple is also working on a cheaper HomePod for as early as next year. The current $300 model hasn't sold very well. The new model is likely to have two tweeters (a type of loudspeaker), down from seven in the current HomePod.
Apple has marketed the HomePod as a premium speaker that also has Siri, as opposed to a personal assistant that also plays music. Early reviews agreed that the sound quality is excellent, but found Siri to be lackluster.


Over the last few years, Apple has been steadily making the HomePod more useful by adding features such as Handoff support, multi-user voice detection, ambient sounds, and multi-room audio. Beyond a potential lower-cost model, however, it remains to be seen when Apple will release a second-generation HomePod. With the current model set to launch in India soon, we may still be some time away.

Article Link: HomePod Turns Two, Lower-Priced Model Might Launch Later This Year
 
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swingerofbirch

macrumors 68040
that frequently retail for $49 or below,
That's an understatement. I got an Echo dot for 99 cents over the holidays. Just had to sign up for Amazon Prime music and then cancel. For good sound I use my AudioEngine A5 Plus speakers connected to my Airport Express. Still the best solution for me. I have given Apple a hard time, but the Airport Express is a delightful product and has held up well for many, many years now.
 

dilbert99

macrumors 68020
Jul 23, 2012
2,133
1,763
Can't attest to its sound quality as I have only listened to it in a shop, but I live open plan and didn't think much of it.

So a "premium" product compared to other bluetooth speakers selling in "premium" quantities.

Another big issue with smart speakers is lifetime. Companies that don't put in a dumb 3.5mm aux port, really need to put a "this device will be supported for 5 years after purchase at which point you will need to buy a new speaker" - thinking of the recent Sonos who-ha.

Perhaps it should be mandated that all speakers should have a 3.5mm port and guaranteed to work offline with it.
 

Xtir

macrumors member
Dec 28, 2013
58
35



Today marks two years since Apple released the HomePod, with deliveries to customers and in-store availability having begun February 9, 2018 in the United States, Australia, and United Kingdom.

At launch, the HomePod cost $349, but Apple reduced its price to $299 in April 2019. Apple has never disclosed HomePod sales, instead grouping the speaker under its "Wearables, Home, and Accessories" category, which set a quarterly record of $10 billion in revenue over the final three months of 2019.


However, much of the growth of Apple's wearables business has been attributed to the Apple Watch and AirPods. Many estimates place the HomePod's worldwide market share at around just five percent.

Pricing is the HomePod's biggest obstacle. The speaker's two largest competitors in the Amazon Echo and Google Home have low-priced models that frequently retail for $49 or below, whereas only one HomePod model is available for $299. That may change in the near future, however, as Bloomberg last year reported that a lower-priced HomePod with fewer tweeters may launch as early as this year:Apple has marketed the HomePod as a premium speaker that also has Siri, as opposed to a personal assistant that also plays music. Early reviews agreed that the sound quality is excellent, but found Siri to be lackluster.


Over the last few years, Apple has been steadily making the HomePod more useful by adding features such as Handoff support, multi-user voice detection, ambient sounds, and multi-room audio. Beyond a potential lower-cost model, however, it remains to be seen when Apple will release a second-generation HomePod. With the current model set to launch in India soon, we may still be some time away.

Article Link: HomePod Turns Two, Lower-Priced Model Might Launch Later This Year
Would ‘love’ to buy this ‘man in the middle’ microphone, so apple can listen in on everything said, played and happening inside my home. I heard it makes beautiful scratchcircles on everything it stands on as well. If you talk to it, it executes for about 54% the correct task.
Almost just like my kid, telling the teacher what happens at home, keying my car and never does what I ask him. Him I love and trust, but Apple, never. So no thank you, I’ll stick to my KEF speakers made smart with Sonos.
 

DanielDD

macrumors 6502
Apr 5, 2013
463
2,209
Portugal
In the meantime, Apple Stores where I live still don't sell them. To be fair, ever since I bought the new MacBook Pro 16 I don't feel the need for a speaker like anymore since I live in a small house.
 
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ZEEN0j

macrumors 68000
Sep 29, 2014
1,526
685
Can't attest to its sound quality as I have only listened to it in a shop, but I live open plan and didn't think much of it.

So a "premium" product compared to other bluetooth speakers selling in "premium" quantities.

Another big issue with smart speakers is lifetime. Companies that don't put in a dumb 3.5mm aux port, really need to put a "this device will be supported for 5 years after purchase at which point you will need to buy a new speaker" - thinking of the recent Sonos who-ha.

Perhaps it should be mandated that all speakers should have a 3.5mm port and guaranteed to work offline with it.
That whole thing was ridiculous. It’s not like all the old speakers where going to stop working. They weren’t getting software updates anymore. A 3,5 mm port wouldn’t have changed anything.
 

sofila

macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2006
979
957
Ramtop Mountains
Still not available in my country, like Siri for Apple TV and many other things.

I had the opportunity to listen to it for a couple of days while visiting friends in Germany, to find that, in my opinion, the audio quality is well below the expectations created by some enthusiastic reviews on the web and by some "authoritative" forum members here. From that test I reduce by 50% the weight of any statement coming from the aforementioned. Credibility is not easy to maintain.
 

gazwas

macrumors regular
Aug 11, 2008
211
187
You seriously can't judge the quality of any audio equipment in an Apple or large department store. I do admit that its strange listening to music from a single speaker, regardless of cost but as a stereo pair the HomePod is abolultly amazing. If you think they sound bad then its probably room acoustics or how you've positioned them as they are an amazing speaker and I love mine.
 

orbital~debris

macrumors 6502a
Mar 3, 2004
874
1,012
England, UK, Europe
Have owned two HomePods and returned them both, sound quality is awful, and Siri is useless.
That’s just not true. The sound quality mightn’t be to your personal taste, and things like this are subjective, but a wide range of publications praised the high fidelity of HomePod audio.

I’d also take issue with your ‘useless’ statement re: Siri. If that were not also fakenews, I’d be at a loss to explain what it is in my kitchen that helps my family with various tasks & queries nearly every day (btw, not claiming Siri is perfect).