Speculative Report Claims 'Low-Priced' HomePod Will Fall Under Beats Brand

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 21, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    A questionable new report from Apple's supply chain claims that the company's rumored "low-priced" version of the HomePod will be placed under the Beats by Dre brand instead of the expected Apple branding. The report comes from Chinese news site Sina, which also says the $199 speaker will have MediaTek as the supplier, a change from Apple's decision to give Inventec sole supplier duties on the first HomePod (via LoveiOS).

    Reports about a cheaper HomePod began appearing quickly after news of lackluster sales for the first version of the speaker emerged earlier this year, with former KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and other industry watchers predicting a low-cost speaker priced between $150 and $200. What's new in this week's report is the idea of a Beats-branded version of the HomePod, but it's unclear exactly what form the speaker would take, what features it would carry over from the $350 version of the speaker, and where Sina is sourcing the news from in the first place.

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    It seems unlikely that Apple would somehow combine the HomePod and Beats brands into one product, and due to all of this it's important to take the new report with a dose of skepticism. Beats last updated its Pill line of speakers with the Pill+ in 2015, which ran for $230 at launch but nowadays is priced closer to $130 when purchased on sale. Pill devices lack persistent "Hey Siri" functionality, likely due to their lack of constant AC power, so it also seems unlikely that Apple would extend that feature beyond its own line of devices, currently including the iPhone, iPad, HomePod, and Apple Watch.

    In his prediction, Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple is "mulling" a "low-cost version" of the HomePod in an effort to boost short-term shipments. Apple's main selling point on the $350 HomePod is its high-quality audio playback, with reviewers agreeing that the speaker blows other smart speakers out of the water in terms of audio performance, but Siri's performance, the lack of certain languages, and Apple's walled garden ecosystem (particularly excluding any music service besides Apple Music) left many to wonder if the price was actually justified.

    As a point of comparison, two of Apple's rivals sell entry-level versions of their smart speakers for as low as $50 in the United States, including Amazon's Echo Dot ($49.99) and Alphabet's Google Home Mini ($49.00). The smaller, cheaper devices allow users to expand features of the connected speaker system into other rooms around their home, without having to spend a lot of money on purchasing the base speakers multiple times.

    For now, the HomePod still lacks a few features Apple announced prior to the speaker's launch, namely AirPlay 2 support and multi-room audio, both pegged for release through a firmware update sometime later in 2018. Although there have been many reports about a cheaper HomePod, none have yet hinted at a potential launch window for the rumored lower-cost speaker.

    Article Link: Speculative Report Claims 'Low-Priced' HomePod Will Fall Under Beats Brand
     
  2. Andres Cantu macrumors 68030

    Andres Cantu

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    #2
    Fix Siri first, then worry about a low-cost HomePod.

    And make Siri be the same on all devices, as a start.
     
  3. Dayv macrumors 6502

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    #3
    I love my HomePod as a speaker, but at the very least they need to release AirPlay 2 before I buy another one. Siri improvements are needed as well, especially different names or wake up phrases for Siri and better handling of a multi-user household.
     
  4. spazzcat macrumors 68030

    spazzcat

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  5. oneMadRssn, May 21, 2018
    Last edited: May 21, 2018

    oneMadRssn macrumors 601

    oneMadRssn

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    #5
    Why?

    Other than better audio quality, a $50 dot is more useful in every way imaginable. And a $100 pair of amplified stereo speakers plugged into the dot can easily match the audio quality of a HP.

    Apple needs to learn that there is more to competition than brand and price tiers. In these IoT segments, people will cross-shop vastly different price ranges and types of products.
     
  6. Karma*Police macrumors 68000

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    #6
    If Apple releases a cheaper HP, I’m pretty certain it has nothing to do with “disappointing” HP sales since that’s probably as accurate as the avalanche of disappointing iPhone X sales articles, but rather, part of a strategy that many companies employ... release a premium version then stairstep down in price points (sometimes up) to reach a wider audience. Apple did this with Macs, iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc.
     
  7. Mike MA macrumors 68000

    Mike MA

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    #7
    I doubt that the current price point is the main issue here. It’s just that this time people don’t accept the poor OS quality of the provided product anymore.
     
  8. SnacksGU macrumors 6502

    SnacksGU

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    #8
    I suppose its worth it if all your needs fit within the strict restrictions the HomePod offers. (Siri, Apple Music).
     
  9. Danoc, May 21, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018
  10. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3

    ArtOfWarfare

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    #10
    I don't know if anything cheapens the HomePod more than referring to it as the HP. That name is synonymous with low quality plastic crap, of lesser value than already terrible brands such as Dell and Lenovo.

    Anyways, on the topic of brand, slapping a Beats logo on a speaker makes it an instant no-buy for me (and tying both together - didn't HP and Beats used to partner together for promotions?)

    Every year I turn Siri on for a few minutes on my iPhone. Every year I find she's just as brain dead and useless as she was in 2011 and I turn her back off. It's quite amazing how in seven years, Apple hasn't made any progress on this front despite regularly promoting her.
     
  11. bluecoast macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    As has been said on this thread... Siri.

    ‘Hey Siri, play some hip hop.’

    ‘Rabbits are the most common animals that hop.

    Would you like to buy one?

    The nearest pet store that I can find near New York is in Mexico City.’

    ‘No... hip-hop’

    ‘I’m afraid that I cannot give medical advice about hip operations.’

    Apart from that, makes sense.

    The EQ and speaker could definitely be cheaper then, as Beats is known for having a bass heavy sound, so you could cut out all of the dynamic processing that the HomePod does.

    I.e. you’d optimise it for hip-hop, rnb, electronica and rock - and not be too bothered about how anything else sounded on it.
     
  12. 69Mustang macrumors 603

    69Mustang

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    #12
    Whatever Apple releases, for the love of sweet baby jeebus, make sure the dang product ships complete. Release now and patch in the rest is some garbage from the video game industry. Apple's supposed to be better.
     
  13. spazzcat macrumors 68030

    spazzcat

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    #13
    Because the HP is made for listening to music, the Dot not so much, and I own both.
     
  14. bbednarz macrumors 6502a

    bbednarz

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    #14
    I want to get a second "full size" HomePod for the bedroom. After that I would like to get a few other lower priced HomePod "minis" for the rest of the house. Something that is closer to what the Sonos One is. Something with good, but not great sound that works with HomeKit. Something in the $150-$200 range would be excellent.
     
  15. spazzcat macrumors 68030

    spazzcat

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    #15
    Normally people only call it HP in topics related to the HomePod because it is shorter to type.

    Some of us use Siri every day with little or no issue. But I don't expect it to be a voice Google search engine, but a personal assistant that helps with tasks.
    --- Post Merged, May 21, 2018 ---
    There are going to be new features added all the time, yes they are late with one feature, but as others have said, I rather it works well and be late than not work and be on time.
     
  16. manu chao macrumors 603

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    #16
    I am not sure how universal this is but I get the impression from the 'Pill' example that one difference between Beats and Apple products is that Apple products never get a price cut (at least not when purchased from Apple but also not that often when purchased from other resellers) whereas Beats products' prices behave more like those from other companies.
     
  17. Will.O.Bie macrumors 6502

    Will.O.Bie

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    #17
    I agree. I think a lot more sales would have happened if that thing they call "smart assistant" is well...smart. The speaker itself is well made and sounds really good but for that price, and the lack of integration of other apps, I expected it to not do so well in terms of sales.
     
  18. laurim macrumors 68000

    laurim

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    #18
    It pains me to agree. After waiting years for Apple and device makers to get together so I could have a Siri smarthome, I gave up and bought 6 Dots and a SmartThings hub. It works great, I have lots of devices to choose from and I don’t have to use a Raspberry Pi to hobble it all together. Apple really screwed the pooch on smarthome stuff. Makes me really sad when I remember Steve Jobs talking about the AppleTv being the future smarthome hub.
     
  19. 69Mustang macrumors 603

    69Mustang

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    #19
    My complaint isn't about new features though. My complaint is specific. Do not ship unfinished product. I rather it works well and ship complete. I'm funny that way. It's one of the reasons I am rarely a first adopter. Others may be more forgiving. That's totally okay. To each his own.
     
  20. laurim macrumors 68000

    laurim

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    #20
    I have defended Siri at least as much as you and still use it for things like driving directions but now that I switched to a Dot/SmartThings system in my house I can see what people are talking about. I dreamed for years that I could simply ask Siri to wake me up at 7am to my favorite radio station like any normal clock radio but it wasn’t until I got the Dot that it was possible. Why was that so hard, Apple????
     
  21. Robert.Walter macrumors 65816

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    #21
    Came here to write essentially this.

    Also by branding it as Beats a lower performance tier doesn’t hurt the Apple brand.
     
  22. lunarworks macrumors 65816

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    Toronto, Canada
    #22
    Why? The Beats brand is popular and profitable.
     
  23. Luke MacWalker macrumors member

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    Jun 10, 2014
    #23
    I wish Siri on the HomePod could be used to play music from my iTunes server library. I have zero interest in AppleMusic (or any other service of this kind) but I could enjoy using Siri to play the music I kept organised and tagged already…
     
  24. 69Mustang macrumors 603

    69Mustang

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    #24
    That used to be the case. Recently, Apple products are routinely discounted just like every other brand. It started to be more common for their previous year's inventory to get price cuts to clear inventory. Now, newly released products get discounted as well. I think one of the most visible price cuts was Microcenter's $1000 price cut on the Mac Pro. That was followed by retailers like B&H and Best Buy offering cuts at varying rates. HomePod? Already discounted. Apple Watches? Same. Various years of MBP's? Yep, them too. It would actually be more surprising to find an Apple product that isn't available with a price cut.
     
  25. robbyx, May 21, 2018
    Last edited: May 21, 2018

    robbyx Suspended

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    #25
    I agree. The old Apple wowed us when a new product was released. This Apple announces products early and then ships them late AND feature incomplete. There’s nothing “magical” about that.

    I think HomePod would have done much better if they’d waited another year and built something truly great. They harp on audio quality as if that alone is supposed to convince people to buy. News flash. There are plenty of great sounding speakers out there. If you care about audio quality, you already have good ones. I laugh at the Apple fans who ooooo and ahhhhh over the HomePod quality and how they’ve been waiting for a great sounding speaker. What rock do they live under?

    HomePod is a flop because of the software, not the hardware. Apple rakes in billions every quarter yet can’t ship anything on time these days. By releasing HomePod feature incomplete, they only highlighted the advantages of competing platforms. After returning my HomePod, I bought an Echo Dot to control my Sonos. I’d never tried voice control, but liked the way Siri worked on HomePod.
    --- Post Merged, May 21, 2018 ---
    This is one of the product’s many shortcomings. I have thousands of CDs on my home music server in lossless format. Why should I waste bandwidth and listen to lower quality audio via streaming when I have high quality files available on my local network? If you don’t have Apple Music, I can understand that getting Siri to work with a local library might be more complex (from Apple’s perspective), but it’s absurd that they didn’t offer this feature to Apple Music subscribers. They know what’s in your library. They know which files reside on your local machine. Why not always favor the highest quality audio file available? There are so many obvious software/feature fails with HomePod. It’s such a disappointing product from that standpoint.
     

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