Welcome to another episode of Apple Products Cost Too Much! The only technology game show that’s been running continuously since Apple was founded in 1976.
Writing for the lovely people and, yes, several hideous were-beasts over at Business Insider, Peter Newman explains “Why Apple’s new HomePod won’t be an Echo killer.” (Tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody.)
Is it because it starts at like $300 more than the Echo does? Congratulations, you have rediscovered the price elasticity of demand. Not that it was lost or anything.
Apple’s only ever ruled a few markets and most of them just temporarily. It dominated the digital music player market for years until it was subsumed by the smartphone market. For a while it sold more tablets than anyone else and now it sells more smartwatches, but most of the time it’s very happy to take just the high end and leave the rest for Crappy McCrapman’s Colossal Crapfactorium.
Apple finally jumped into the smart speaker market…
…but it hasn’t inspired the fervor that we’ve come to expect from the iPhone-maker’s new releases, according to exclusive survey data from BI Intelligence.
Business Insider did a “back-of-the-envelope estimate” (their words) which they say suggests Apple will sell 5.2 million HomePods and Amazon 9 million Echo Shows. The Macalope imagines that decimal point is super accurate and extremely worth that level of precision.
“I bet they’ll sell twice as many Echo Shows.”
“OK, then how about 9 Echo Shows to every 5 HomePods?”
“OK. But add a decimal to make it look scientific.”
“Done and done.”
Then they wrote it on the back of the envelope the Hardee’s coupons came in and had it notarized.
Early indications suggest that the Siri-controlled HomePod won’t generate the excitement it needs to overtake competing products…
What indications are these?
A quarter of survey respondents told us that they plan on buying Apple’s smart speaker. And only 5% said that they’d pick up the speaker as soon as they can, when it’s released in December. That’s a less enthusiastic response than consumers gave the Echo Show…
Oh, this is a survey of buying intentions?! Why didn’t you say so? Then we could have known to print this piece out, carefully fold it into a beautiful crane, and then set it on fire after making a wish.
And the wish is always that people would stop pushing these surveys as anything other than fiction.
And the wish never comes true.
The point is, people change their minds. All the time. It’s very frustrating, but that’s humans for ya.
Cost is driving away potential HomePod buyers who have cheaper alternatives to choose from.
As far as Business Insider knows, apparently, these devices are all equal. Why would anyone consider the HomePod?! Well, maybe because it’s a superior music listening device with voice features. Its speakers are better than any Echo’s. And, let’s face it, Apple simply cares more about your privacy. Those things are worth something.
But is the HomePod likely to outsell the Echo? Of course not. Even a mythical beast with a Mac for a head could tell you that.
Roman has covered technology since the early 1990s. His career started at MacUser, and he's worked for MacAddict, Mac|Life, and TechTV.