HomePod Some Apple employees livid that Apple Music is coming to Amazon Echo

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Original poster
Nov 14, 2011
20,661
22,372
Intersting podcast with Rene Ritchie and Brian Roemmele, a voice first advocate. Brian discusses why he thinks it is a mistake for Apple to port a Apple Music to Amazon. He makes some good points. He says it’s not selling the Apple ecosystem but the ability to listen to music that Apple doesn’t own. That it’s basically a rounding error on the financials but at the same time it’s Apple ceding the voice first market to Amazon and cutting HomePod off a the knees. He also claims he’s heard from current and former Apple employees who either work on Siri or were involved with the HomePod who are not happy Apple made this decision (and didn’t know anything about it until it was announced). He claims one employee who worked on HomePod told him the product was nothing like he/she envisioned and was completely dumbed down. Very interesting to listen to. My guess is it was Eddy Cue and Tim Cook who signed off on Apple Music coming to Amazon. Because they’re playing checkers while Amazon is playing chess.

http://vector.libsyn.com/bonus-conversations-with-ai-featuring-brian-roemmele
 

timbloom

macrumors 6502a
Jan 19, 2002
745
25
Intersting podcast with Rene Ritchie and Brian Roemmele, a voice first advocate. Brian discusses why he thinks it is a mistake for Apple to port a Apple Music to Amazon. He makes some good points. He says it’s not selling the Apple ecosystem but the ability to listen to music that Apple doesn’t own. That it’s basically a rounding error on the financials but at the same time it’s Apple ceding the voice first market to Amazon and cutting HomePod off a the knees. He also claims he’s heard from current and former Apple employees who either work on Siri or were involved with the HomePod who are not happy Apple made this decision (and didn’t know anything about it until it was announced). He claims one employee who worked on HomePod told him the product was nothing like he/she envisioned and was completely dumbed down. Very interesting to listen to. My guess is it was Eddy Cue and Tim Cook who signed off on Apple Music coming to Amazon. Because they’re playing checkers while Amazon is playing chess.

http://vector.libsyn.com/bonus-conversations-with-ai-featuring-brian-roemmele
As a voice assistance and IoT hub, Apple failed immediately due to their business model. They want to only integrate with their own high priced stuff, which is totally their choice.. but it lowered the true value of it.

This is really an attempt to save Apple Music, which many have moved away from iTunes in recent years because the service didn’t keep up with the times. No web player, no echo support, etc.. when I have the option at the same price point to be able to listen to my rented music on more stuff, I’m going to choose the one with more capability, which wasn’t Apple.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Original poster
Nov 14, 2011
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As a voice assistance and IoT hub, Apple failed immediately due to their business model. They want to only integrate with their own high priced stuff, which is totally their choice.. but it lowered the true value of it.

This is really an attempt to save Apple Music, which many have moved away from iTunes in recent years because the service didn’t keep up with the times. No web player, no echo support, etc.. when I have the option at the same price point to be able to listen to my rented music on more stuff, I’m going to choose the one with more capability, which wasn’t Apple.
The problem is Apple’s focus with HomePod is all about being a music speaker and not a superior voice assisted IoT hub. The smart move for Apple would be to make a cheaper companion/little brother to HomePod rather than ceding that market to Amazon and Google.
 

ArtVandalay

macrumors newbie
Jun 11, 2009
18
9
Amazon has won the voice assistant wars and is on the way to winning the smart home war, and as an Apple user it makes me sad.
Amazon may have the best smart home products ever (likewise with Google), but I will never use their smart speakers because of the confidentiality issues. That is the only reason I went with Apple (I have no doubt Apple will let me down eventually when it comes to this, but I can have my head in the sand for the time being). I have also been blown away by the sound quality, which further convinced me Apple is the way to go. Although my primary use for the homepod is strictly music. I don't give it access to my personal data so I don't use those features.
 

bbednarz

macrumors 65816
Nov 16, 2017
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Chicago
I think the "smart home war" is basically over already. Amazon and to a lesser extent Google "won". Apple isn't and never was going to compete with them in the areas they are in. Hell, you can get Google Home and Echo Dot's for free a lot of times. My family has gotten 3 Echos in the last month with the purchase of two thermostats and a Ring doorbell. Apple would never be in the market to give hardware away or offer it up for $20. As much as I personally would like to see a cheaper version of the HomePod there likely just isn't a big enough market for it. At this point basically everyone that wants a smarthome device has one. I can't imagine people giving up their sub-$30 Alexa to swap out for a $99 HomePod mini (Apple wouldn't go below $99).
 
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bbednarz

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I predict the HomePod will go the way of the iPod HiFi. We may not see a version 2 of this product.
I don't think there is really a need for a second gen for a long while at least. Unless they come out with a more expensive or less expensive version I think they'll stick with this for awhile. What it does, it does well. Comes with an A8 chip built in it which seems like way more than enough for a smart speaker.
 

bigjnyc

macrumors 603
Apr 10, 2008
6,276
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Apple priced themselves out of the home speaker market. And rather than admit defeat and lower the price to get the home pod in to more homes they rather faze it out. lowering the price would ruin their "premium brand" reputation. They wont compete with amazon and Google who want to get their hardware in to as many hands as possible in order to sell them on the primary parts of their business.
 

bbednarz

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Apple priced themselves out of the home speaker market. And rather than admit defeat and lower the price to get the home pod in to more homes they rather faze it out. lowering the price would ruin their "premium brand" reputation. They wont compete with amazon and Google who want to get their hardware in to as many hands as possible in order to sell them on the primary parts of their business.
I don't think they are phasing anything out. A price drop to $250 would do wonders for this thing. $250 is still a premium price, but much much more reasonable for someone looking for this kind of device.

They appear to be flying off the shelves at Best Buy (on sale for $250) as many stores around me are currently sold out. I would never pay $350 for one, $250 is just about what I spent on each of mine.
 

W.MlL

macrumors member
Nov 14, 2018
41
8
Amazon may have the best smart home products ever (likewise with Google), but I will never use their smart speakers because of the confidentiality issues. That is the only reason I went with Apple ...
Privacy and Music Playback quality was also why I ended up choosing HomePod over all the other choices. I'm willing to pay more for Privacy/Security and superior playback quality. I don't like the lock-in but everything else sounds good. And frankly, lock-in does help Apple control Privacy/Security better. the only way I would even consider having a smartspeaker (personal assistant) in the home is if privacy/security was a top design consideration and Apple is the only one talking that game and doing things that to me look like the right way to do it. There are trade-offs for sure but without Apple privacy focus, I never would have bought one from Amazon or Google.
 
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GDF

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Jun 7, 2010
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I am the biggest Apple fanboy and will probably be returning the Homepod. Yes it is an excellent speaker, but it is only tied to Apple Music and can't use Sirius, Itunes local radio and others straight from the Homepod, like an echo does.

Also - the amount of devices it controls are limited compared to Alexa. Hopefully it changes, but Apple is taking way too long. For the price, I expect much more, especially since a $19.99 echo dot can do so much more, except at as a great speaker. Sad, since Siri was one of the first to market, but Alexa and Google passed it.

If Apple could do both well, I would have no problem keeping it. Don't see the point of anything Gen 2 until they improve all of the above. They could do so much more with it. Make it surround sound for your tv, enable the features above, etc...

I agree with Apple employees, that it is like Apple gave up putting Apple Music on the Echo's. All the money they have and they can't be more creative?????
 
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maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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Apple ceding the voice first market to Amazon and cutting HomePod off a the knees.
Apple didn't cede anything, they failed, pure and simple. Apple rolled out a closed incomplete smart speaker in 2018, that does less then Amazon, but cost a lot more, Siri is a joke compared to Google and Amazon's. Amazon has kept the peddle to the metal in improving Alexa and its offerings, where as Apple has done very little. They finally added the features that was promised since day one (like stereo), but hasn't added any other features that would compete against Alexa.

I don't know if its a mistake or an acknowledgement, but the move was surprising.
 

aristobrat

macrumors G5
Oct 14, 2005
12,245
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How many years ago did Apple bring Apple Music to Android? IMO, this isn’t much different.

I’d guess more Apple customers today own Amazon smart speakers than HomePods. It’s got to be way more successful selling an Apple Music subscription (now that it plays on their Amazon smart speaker) to that crowd than it would be trying to sell them the current HomePod.

If Apple’s future revenue growth is going to be lead by their Services segment, then this makes more sense than not, IMO.

Anyone going to be upset if the upcoming Apple video service also plays on Roku or Firestick? Will that signify the death of the Apple TV?
 
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GDF

macrumors 6502
Jun 7, 2010
446
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Apple didn't cede anything, they failed, pure and simple. Apple rolled out a closed incomplete smart speaker in 2018, that does less then Amazon, but cost a lot more, Siri is a joke compared to Google and Amazon's. Amazon has kept the peddle to the metal in improving Alexa and its offerings, where as Apple has done very little. They finally added the features that was promised since day one (like stereo), but hasn't added any other features that would compete against Alexa.

I don't know if its a mistake or an acknowledgement, but the move was surprising.
Totally agree with you. One annoyance or maybe it is my ignorance of the homepod, but 1/4 of the time when I say Hey Siri, Siri answers from my iPhone, which happens to be close by to the homepod. That is annoying, but could be my own user error... :)
 

mrboult

macrumors 6502
Jul 29, 2008
375
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London, England
Apple just need to release a $50 HomePod version if they want to stop being crushed by Alexa. The price point of the budget echo dot thingy is why so many people have them. It's a great Christmas present price point.

The $350 HomePod is way too high for such a 'splash'.
That and the fact that Apple crippled the HomePod with it's connectivity options! The fact that I can't play my HUGE (paid for) iTuns library on a HomePod meant I didn't/won't buy one. I was very interested buying it before it released. . a small an assumably great sounding speaker that integrates into my apple life. . . perfect for my tiny London flat I thought. . . but no. It's apple music or go home!?? WTF!

What a crappy business strategy! I'm not a bit surprised they are not selling many HomePods, their high priced speaker that can only play apple music subscriptions. Soooooo stupid.
 
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douglasf13

macrumors 68000
Jul 2, 2010
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Apple didn't cede anything, they failed, pure and simple. Apple rolled out a closed incomplete smart speaker in 2018, that does less then Amazon, but cost a lot more, Siri is a joke compared to Google and Amazon's. Amazon has kept the peddle to the metal in improving Alexa and its offerings, where as Apple has done very little. They finally added the features that was promised since day one (like stereo), but hasn't added any other features that would compete against Alexa.

I don't know if its a mistake or an acknowledgement, but the move was surprising.
As long as Apple takes privacy seriously, it’ll never compete with Alexa. It’s a trade off I’m not willing to make. I have one device with Alexa built in, and I disabled the feature and covered the mic.
 

bbednarz

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Nov 16, 2017
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I think something a lot of people forget is how many people have iPhones, MacBooks, Watches, and iPads....
These are all Siri devices.
While Amazon and Google have obviously overtaken the smart speaker market, it needs to be noted that Apple already had Siri in the hands and on the wrists of millions of customers...
 

ipedro

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Nov 30, 2004
4,670
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Toronto, ON
The problem is Apple’s focus with HomePod is all about being a music speaker and not a superior voice assisted IoT hub.
That’s a feature, not a bug.

What people are failing to see in this deal is that both Apple and Amazon are coming out winners. The loser here is Spotify and that’s a deliberately calculated move by Apple.

This is a complex strategy so it won’t make sense if you’re looking at it two dimensionally. You need to look (far) ahead, not just at the current situation.

Here are the points that will help understand that strategy:

1. Amazon will never win in the smartphone market. Apple and Google are too entrenched. Amazon is not a threat to Apple’s revenue generation.

2. Amazon Echo is a product whose only purpose is Alexa. Meanwhile, Apple will continue to sell iPhones regardless of how far behind Siri is from Alexa. They’re not competing with each other.

3. HomePod isn’t trying to be an Amazon Echo competitor. It’s playing for an audience who appreciates excellent audio quality and who subscribes to Apple Music. Those people will not buy an Amazon Echo for the purpose of listening to music.

4. By putting Apple Music on Amazon Echo, Spotify is no longer the default music streaming service with a de facto exclusive on Alexa devices. Echo users can now subscribe to or retain their Apple Music subscriptions while using it on the established home assistant. Apple builds a subscriber base, further eating into Spotify, Apple’s real competitor.

5. Now, which speaker do Apple Music subscribers buy if they want excellent sound? I’ll refer you back to point 3. Amazon Echo and HomePod aren’t competitors: they’re complementary to one another. People who buy an Echo for Alexa can also purchase a HomePod for Apple Music sound quality.

6. Siri plays no role here — for now. Apple is clearly investing heavily in AI and in Siri itself given its high profile hires and how it’s reorganized its executive structure. Apple doesn’t have to beat Alexa in a sprint. Voice assistant tech is going to be a long marathon. They’de still years away from being the natural language assistants we envision in sci-fi.

7. iPhones will continue to sell with or without Siri matching Alexa’s popularity. People don’t buy them for Siri. Elsewhere, Apple is working on conquering the next generation of personal computers: wearables. AppleWatch is so ahead of the competition that it’s pretty much the only player, very much how iPod lead the field for its entire existence.

8. With iPhone, Apple Watch and HomePod selling for reasons unrelated to Siri’s ability to outsmart Alexa, what they all share is that they do have Siri and once the advanced Siri that Apple is so clearly developing is ready for prime time, all of those devices will instantly become Siri devices with a much bigger installed base than Alexa.

Check mate.
 

GDF

macrumors 6502
Jun 7, 2010
446
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Another annoying feature of using Apple Music on Siri, is when you tell Siri not to never play an artist or song again, she says she will remember that and everytime she still still plays it. Come on Apple, you are a multi billion dollar company. Get it right!
 

mackinmike

macrumors 6502a
May 3, 2012
525
369
Homepod is DOA. It priced itself out and to add insult to injury offeredd limited functionality. Smh.
 

bbednarz

macrumors 65816
Nov 16, 2017
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Chicago
Homepod is DOA. It priced itself out and to add insult to injury offeredd limited functionality. Smh.
Couldn't disagree more. I am using my HomePod's more and more. I listen to more music and podcasts now because all I need to do is tell Siri to play it and suddenly its playing throughout the house.

I wouldn't pay full price for it, but at the $250 level, it is a fantastic product.
 

Endorphine88

macrumors 6502
Feb 12, 2018
259
187
Philadelphia, PA
HomePod's mission was never to outperform Alexa. It is a music-centric speaker through and through. It is much more handicapped when it comes to voice assistance and smart features, but it's sound can't be beat by most competitors.
I (and a lot of other owners) am perfectly happy with my HomePods and use them daily - I knew what I was getting myself into and I never expected it to do things I wouldn't need it for. I also have Alexa devices and they come with their drawbacks. Bottom line is I use both and expectations are met.
HomePod can only improve and it's as simple as software updates. That is not a priority for Apple at the moment and they got bigger fish to fry.
 
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