While the Apple HomePod was originally supposed to release back in December, it became one of several Apple products to recently receive a product delay. However, the hotly anticipated device now has an official release date.
When the Apple HomePod was first delayed, we didn’t get much of an explanation as to the reason why other than a statement that the company needed more time to get things ready for their customers. While we never got an update on why exactly the release was pushed back, the company recently announced that the Apple HomePod would release to customers in the US, UK, and Australia on February 9th.
As far as smart speakers go, the Apple HomePod is pretty expensive with a retail price of around $350. This is to be expected given the premium price tag of many of Apple’s products, but it does make the model significantly more expensive than options from the likes of Amazon and Google. Apple will probably see a significant amount of sales just from their branding and integration within their ecosystem, but may have trouble converting customers on the fence in a market largely dominated by the Echo.
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However, the Apple HomePod does seem to offer something that Google and Amazon haven’t quite been able to accomplish effectively: premium acoustics. With the high price tag comes a high-quality speaker that can supposedly deliver sound on par with some pretty impressive traditional speakers – with smart home functionality added in as a bonus. The Apple website says that the HomePod uses software capable of providing high-fidelity and immersive sound through the entire room regardless of where it’s located.
The site goes on to say that “We built the high-excursion woofer with a custom amplifier to play a wide range of deep, rich bass. A powerful motor drives the diaphragm a full 20 mm — remarkable for a speaker this size. Meanwhile, HomePod uses an advanced algorithm that continuously analyzes the music and dynamically tunes the low frequencies for smooth, distortion‑free sound.”
The CEO of the company. Tim Cook, spoke on the Apple Home Pod during an interview at WWDC last year.
“I think when people listen to it, they are going to be shocked over the quality of the sound, and of course it does a lot of other things…But we wanted a really high quality audio experience as well,” BGR reports.
Another way in which Apple hopes to set itself apart from competitors is through the Apple HomePod integration with Siri. BGR reports that the HomePod will be able to handle a large amount of advanced musical questions such as “Who’s playing bass on this song?” which may make it a sure buy for the music aficionado.
Apple has managed to charge a premium for their devices in the past while still selling a large amount of phones, and a likely reason for that is their commitment to innovation. With the iPhone X being their most popular iPhone to date and making a huge amount of profit for the tech giant, it’s clear that consumers are looking for something new when it comes to technology. For the Apple HomePod, however, the question of whether or not better acoustics necessitate a price that is significantly higher than other options.
While the iPhone X innovated in a major way by introducing Face ID, a speaker that simply sounds better might not be able to draw in a significant crowd. The market for a smart speaker is also likely far lower than that of a smartphone, so it’s possible that the Apple HomePod will remain more of a niche product than a major source of profit for the company. There’s no doubt that Google and Amazon are pretty fierce competition – especially considering that Apple is coming into a market late with a more expensive product that will have to compete with more attractively priced and well-known models like the Echo and Echo Dot. Only time will tell whether the Apple HomePod will be a success or failure, but Apple has a pretty good track record when it comes to making the most out of their products and turning a profit.
Preorders for the Apple HomePod will be available on Friday, January 26th, with the speaking launching two weeks later.