Is the HomePod a canary in a coal mine or a canary cage?


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Sometime early next year Apple will introduce a product that is more expensive than other products in the same category. Clearly, the company has lost its way.

Writing for Bloomberg, Shira Ovide barrels haphazardly down Apple HomePod's High-Priced Road to Nowhere. (Tip o’ the antlers to James.)

Each time Apple introduces a new type of technology hardware, it is inevitably measured against the iPhone.

Weird! Who does that?! Anyway, the HomePod is no iPhone.

Apple Inc. hasn't yet sold one of its delayed HomePod voice-activated speakers, but it's already a flashback to the original iPhone in one way: It is a single product with a relatively high price…

As opposed to all those low-priced bundles Apple sells.

Sure, you might think this is the very definition of Apple.

Kinda do, yeah.

But Apple isn't solely a gadget maker for the well-heeled anymore. Apple now sells multiple versions of its popular products in a fairly broad price range.

Yes, but that’s not how it enters a market. So… this is actually the very definition of Apple.

Now, it may be out of whack here. The HomePod may be overpriced for the home speaker market, but the original iPod was priced higher than competing digital music players when it was introduced and the iPhone was priced higher than competing smartphones when it was introduced.

Apple's decision to stick with -- at least for now -- a single computerized home speaker at the high end could generate rich profits. But profits cannot be Apple's sole mission anymore…

Who says so? Why, Bloomberg’s Shira Ovide says so. Q.E.Ovide.

To be fair, Google and Amazon aren't necessarily trying to turn a profit from their devices…

That’s OK. Trying to make a profit is not OK. Because reasons.

This is yet another piece in which the word “privacy” does not appear even once.

But if Apple truly wants to become more than a hardware company

The Macalope loves pieces that are like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book except instead of exploring different paths to an ending, you get lost in a maze of almost random phrases linking to other pieces about how Apple’s screwing up.

This time, Apple says it's different from the first arrivals because the HomePod's audio quality is better than anything else. To that I respond: Huh?


Maybe that spin will appeal to audiophiles.

Yeah. It probably would.

That’s… kind of the definition of “audiophile.” Someone who cares about audio quality.

[The Macalope turns and looks quizzically into the camera.]

Apple considers audio quality a key factor in the user experience. And, in their defense, Sonos has done pretty well selling on that feature as well.

The horny one should note that he doesn’t think all of Ovide’s questions about the HomePod are unwarranted. While Apple products do enter the market at a higher price point, it is questionable as to whether or not better sound, Siri, and HomeKit are enough to warrant the difference. Similarly, the Apple TV seems to be overpriced for its market and, while it’s probably selling fine, it doesn’t seem to be a barn burner. But, then, none of these devices is going to sell like the iPhone, partly just because it’s one of the most successful consumer electronics devices of all time.

A lot of pundits seem to find the nut of an idea and allow it to snowball into a “giant lesson” about how Apple’s lost its way. But not all of the company’s products are meant to be iPhones.

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