The HomePod is dead. Well, a little. Apple ditched its original smart speaker and now focuses solely on the HomePod Mini.
It’s no big surprise, the original HomePod never really captured the public imagination after all. But… I think there is hope for the high end of the range; if the company is releasing a HomePod with a screen.
We’ll get to that in a minute. But first, let’s talk about …
Why the HomePod failed
Contrary to some people’s opinion that the HomePod was “misunderstood,” it just wasn’t an attractive or well-thought-out product.
First of all, function. For some reason, Siri was – and still does – sucks. It’s just not good enough to function as a smart speaker like Google Nest and Amazon Echo devices can.
I’m a firm believer that Apple realized Siri wasn’t up to the task and then tried to take the tale around the HomePod from a smart speaker to a high-quality audio device. And here’s where we get to the second main issue: The HomePod will never be audiophile gear.
Yes, it looked amazing, but it’s not enough. There was no support for formats above CD quality, you could only use AirPlay, and there were no physical inputs. The only people who declared it audiophile-ready were Apple themselves and the journalists naive enough to swallow the company’s Kool Aid.
In the end, the HomePod was a $ 350 smart speaker that wasn’t as functional as the $ 50 offerings from other companies, or suited to anyone seriously interested in its audio. The fact that he was killed is not surprising.
But Apple immediately made amends: and here is the HomePod Mini. As the name suggests, it’s basically a smaller HomePod, with a smaller price tag: $ 99. That’s pretty darn reasonable and makes it a viable competitor for devices from Google and Amazon.
The point is, Apple isn’t exactly known for releasing products at reasonable prices. Shutting down the original HomePod isn’t going to go well. This leads to a question: how does it make its smart speaker a high-end device? Good…
Apple must release a HomePod with a screen
Why wait? Do it soon. Do it now. QUICKLY!
I’ve written before that I only saw the value of smart speakers after using one with a screen – and I think that would ring true for a lot of other people.
Why am I feeling this? Well, let’s take the example of my beloved Lenovo Smart Display. The thing is way more useful than a stupid smart speaker. It works as a photo frame, kitchen tool, interactive menu, music station, and more.
In short, controlling something with a screen is much more useful and intuitive than just using your voice. It would even make up for the fact that Siri is a bit shitty.
Imagine it with me… a device that sits somewhere between an iPad Mini and the HomePod. It would fit right into your Apple ecosystem, that would be really helpful, and – you know what? – it would ring fantastic.
I salivate just thinking about it.
I fully understand why Apple ditched the HomePod and is now focusing on the Mini, but it should be an opportunity for the company to learn and grow. A HomePod with a screen is not a revolutionary idea, but it is an idea that would succeed.
So, Apple, I’m waiting. And, when you finally release a HomePod with a display, you know where to send the checks.
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Published March 16, 2021 – 12:52 UTC