Apple recently announced that their new smart speaker the Apple HomePod which was announced on June 5, 2017, and slated to be released for the holiday shopping seasons was delayed. Apple has said the HomePod will be available in Australia, the UK, and the US starting in early 2018. The Apple HomePod will feature voice control, Siri intelligence, and remote access and home automation through the Home App, and is compatible with iPhone 5s and later.
Many websites have said that the delay in the release of the HomePod helps competitors within the high-end smart home enabled speaker market like Sonos and Invoke. While I do think to a certain degree this is the case as many people may be buying other brands due to the delay from Apple but it won’t hurt Apple in the long run.
Apple is considered a premium product and while other speakers may be just as good Apple has the name recognition and the consumer support to break into the industry even in the late start they are getting. The other issue is Apple fans have proven that they will wait for Apples premium products. Apple can put out a product late into the game and people will wait to buy it so the people that are going to want a HomePod will wait or buy another cheaper brand and then buy the HomePod when it’s available.
The HomePod is even more expensive while the Sonos is around $200 and the Invoke is around $200 now marked down to $99 trying to get market share as this is the first high-end sound speaker with Microsoft Cortana. The Apple HomePod starts at the $349 mark with Siri making it one of the most expensive premium multi-room speakers on the market.
Apple is only supporting Apple Music on the Apple HomePod where all other smart speakers support other services like Spotify. Apple is choosing to keep their echo system close to the music area with only their music service. Apple can do this because of their large user base on Apple Music. Imagine if Microsoft did this on the Invoke and only let you use Groove Music it would have been another Zoon disaster waiting to happen.
I don’t believe the Apple HomePod smart speaker coming out of the gate late is going to hurt Apple. Like I said before users of Apple products are going to wait and buy Apple despite the cost and time of release. Just like how Siri has fallen behind in the AI world Apple still gets a pass because of their large user base and diehard fans