The Apple HomePod preorders are now being accepted via the official Apple Store App ahead of the February 9th launch.
Apple HomePod Preorders
While Apple’s smart speaker won’t receive its first launch until February 9th, eager customers can already sign up for HomePod preorders via the Apple Store App. As of the writing of this article, HomePod preorders were not yet made available via the official website, but that functionality should be coming sooner rather than later. We expect that the HomePod preorders will open up in all available channels at some point today.
With a $349 price tag, the Apple HomePod has positioned itself as a high-end speaker with added smart functionality, said to focus more on high-fidelity audio when compared to competitors like the Google Home and Amazon Echo. The HomePod preorders give users the chance to make sure they’ll receive their own high-end smart speaker at launch – a model that is set to give us a very different experience as far as these combination smart hubs and wireless speakers go.
The decision to focus on a smart speaker that emphasizes audio quality above all else is an interesting choice, although the Apple HomePod won’t be light on features either. A potential concern for Apple moving forward is the high price tag. While the majority of Apple’s products are pretty expensive and they’ve sold well regardless, they’re coming into the market rather late with these HomePod preorders and may struggle to gain any sort of real traction considering many people already have some version of a smart speaker – be it an Amazon Echo or Google Home.
Late To The Party
Apple was previously the king when it came to music, with iTunes still being the main option many use when they’d like to download music. The problem for Apple in the current landscape, however, is the fact that the majority of music listening has moved to services like Spotify. Apple has tried to win back a portion of the market with their Apple Music service, but it was too little too late in a market already dominated by Spotify and later other options from services like Google and Amazon. These HomePod preorders give customers the chance to get their hands on an Apple branded device that revolves around music and can handle both downloaded and streamed music with ease – just don’t expect to control Spotify with Siri!
On that same note, it’s worth mentioning that the Apple HomePod will likely not play nice with a lot of other services. Apple has a vested interest in keeping their ecosystem as closed off as possible, leveraging their position as one of the top tech manufacturers to convince their customers to fully commit to their suite of products. By having users with Macs, iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and now HomePods, the tech giant can more easily convince users to go with an Apple product when considering a new type of technology. This isn’t necessarily great for the consumer, as the HomePod will likely only function well with Apple devices, but it’s a smart business move for the company when it comes to protecting their brand.
An Unsure Footing
It remains to be seen, however, if the combination of a high price tag and limited application will make it difficult for the HomePod to gain traction. While HomePod preorders are already open, we likely won’t see much about the device’s success until a good while after the release, since many of the sales may come a little bit after the launch as people wait to see more customer feedback before they make the purchase decision. Unfortunately for Apple, the HomePod doesn’t appear to inspire the same insatiable lust that their smartphones do (which continue to be the top performing Apple products to date).
While Apple certainly doesn’t need their HomePod preorders to be as big of a success as their phone lines, it’s likely that there’s still a good amount riding on this release. The HomePod has been in development for quite some time and the release was recently pushed back a few months from its initial launch date in late 2017. The company needs to get the product out of the door and shipping units if they’re to recoup their investment, and they’re likely hoping that the combination of hardcore Apple fans and audiophiles is enough to drive a significant number of sales. However, limiting the ability of Siri to interface with third-party apps will no doubt be disappointing to many customers – despite Siri’s supposed ability to recite answers to specific music inquiries like “Who plays bass on this song?”
Until we actually get our hands on the product next month, any ponderings about the product are pure speculation. The Apple preorders are open now, with a full launch across the US, UK, and Australia on February 9th.