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I think that putting music in the focus is the wrong angle for the product category Apple is attacking. Plus, the price establishes a high entry barrier. Home automation in conjunction with voice assistants is something people can get behind, which seemed to play a minor role. At no point in the presentation Siri's actual voice assistant features — besides the on-device machine-learning for photos, keyboard etc. — were showcased. The 'last slide' in regards to voice commands (like reminders and web searches) seemed rushed; those product aspects unfinished. The release date of December (in 7 months!) amplifies this impression. Amazon is simply dominating this market right now and most likely will strengthen its market position even more over the course of the year. Example: You were able to get amazon's Echo dot for 39€ recently here in Germany. Sure Apple's solution will integrate seamlessly into their ecosystem and probably work very well together with AirPlay 2, but people will just buy 10 Echo dots for the price of one HomePod and just put them in every room. "Audio enthusiasts" can just hook it up to their existing speaker systems and probably still be better off price-wise. Sure there's the privacy aspect, but for the majority of people the broken relationship with Siri and its quality as a voice assistant diminishes this advantage. What Apple should have done: Revamp the AirPort brand as a cheap eero-style no-setup mesh-wifi-network that uses a powerful new 4k Apple TV as its stay-at-home brain!
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@boettges I'm not sure how $349 is a high entry barrier when Sonos has built an entire business on products in the $300-$500 range with no real features besides good sound
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@airjoshb Not in the realm of standalone wifi-connected speakers, but in the realm of home automation / voice assistant hubs. The latter is what I meant with the "product category Apple is attacking", which is what the majority of users primarily expected. That it supports some kind of music playback is assumed not the main feature. Users seem to want a voice assistant that plays music, Apple has a music speaker that has voice assistance bolted onto it. I don't think that's the right angle.
@boettges Your comment is contradictory, first you say they are attacking the home automation category and then say that they made a speaker with a voice assistant. I think Apple is defining their own space in a category that is loosely defined. The approach is totally different—rather than an open, command-required interface, they chose to create an incredible piece of audio hardware and integrate where they are already strong (Music and HomeKit) as well as tackle common areas to make the experience better and more seamless in your life, which is what Apple does. This isn't full-Siri, it is a subset of what makes sense in the home.
@airjoshb This exact contradiction is what I'm criticizing. There is a strong dissonance between what the market currently wants and what Apple will provide. I strongly feel this is Apple's Nexus Q.
@boettges I don't think there is proof that the market currently wants home autmation/voice assistants. Just like when there were MP3 players before the iPod and smart phones before the iPhone—Apple went on to define both categories, despite having sales of millions of products from other manufacturers, Apple turned both from relative niche to mass-adoption. The HomePod may or not be that, but the market and the category are far from being defined today.
HomePod features! - Siri & Apple Music integration for access to over 40 million songs - A8 chip for real-time modeling & advanced echo cancellation - Just under 7 inches tall, available in black & white for $349/ea - Multiple HomePod support - AirPlay compatible, so you can play your music all around the house - high-excursion subwoofer with a custom amplifier - array of seven beamforming tweeters for consistent 360º audio - multiple layers of security (anonymous ID & encryption) for privacy
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@nickabouzeid Is Apple Music the only way to play music on this thing? Would be the #1 reason I wouldn't get one.
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@nickabouzeid Amazon should get in bed with Sonos. Boom.
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@falemaster I don't think so. This is added visibility for Whyd to show a product crafted with love, specifically for music lovers.
@falemaster They can't be thrilled to come in some $150 higher. But if their PR can get journalists doing comparison articles (works with more music platforms) ahead of December, it could still translate into a benefit.
Based on my experience, Alexa just crushes Siri. This will be strictly for the Apple fanboys at 2x the cost. First mover advantage would have justified pricing 2-3 years ago. #metoo
@richardginsberg I'd expect a device with 7 microphones to outdo devices with 2 mobile class mics. Apple will surpass Amazon within 2 years
@richardginsberg Maybe, I'm hoping Siri will be better now. Plus, I don't use half of Siri's features either, so if there is better audio, good home automation integration, and basic traffic/weather/news, I'm good.
@richardginsberg And Google Voice search crushes Alexa.