When Apple announced the HomePod, I wasn’t particularly excited. Honestly, I don’t think too many people were except for the hardcore fanboys and the handful of people that are concerned with privacy and security but still want a smart assistant device in their home.
After a slightly delayed launch, initial reviews raved over the sound quality and criticized Siri’s capabilities. The consensus seemed to be “if you’re in the Apple ecosystem, you’ll probably like the HomePod.”
This is not a review of the HomePod’s technology because that can be summed up in a paragraph.
The HomePod sounds incredible and is super easy to use. It shines as an AirPlay target for AppleTV, and the far-field mics can hear you whisper from across the room. Bizarrely, Siri does not answer general knowledge questions on HomePod like Amazon Echo and Google Home.
There’s really not a whole lot else to say. I could go on about how Siri is even more useless on HomePod than she is on iOS, or I could complain about lack of connectivity besides AirPlay – heck, I could whine about Apple Music being the only supported streaming service, but that’s not what this article is.
The simple and honest truth is that every review was right – if you’re in the Apple ecosystem, the HomePod is incredible. You already know Siri sucks, you don’t need Bluetooth since all your devices have AirPlay, and you probably have either Apple Music or music stored on your iPhone that HomePod can stream.
So why don’t we ever hear anything about HomePod anymore? Why does it seem like the device isn’t selling well?
A common complaint about Apple products that I have seen for literally my entire tech-adjacent life is how overpriced they are. 10 years ago, I would argue that aside from the Mac Pro, Apple products weren’t overpriced – they were expensive. That’s an important distinction, and back then, it was true.
These days, that’s not so much the case. Apple hardware has slowly risen to absurd pricing levels, and while I’m not here to argue the value of the products or say that their pricing spells doom and gloom for the company, I am here to say how disappointing that fact is.
I bought a HomePod on sale for $249 on Black Friday. That’s a discount of $100 from Apple’s MSRP, which was a price that I simply could not justify. At $249, it was still hard to justify, but at the very least, that sale did not price me out of the product like Apple’s MSRP did. I simply was not interested at $349.
In the past, I always felt like I was paying a premium for a good product when I bought from Apple. $249 for a HomePod feels like a premium, so what, exactly, is $349 supposed to feel like?
It’s no secret that Apple has been trying to increase their ASP (average selling price) across their line of products. iPhones, iPads, and Macs cost more than ever, which means that Apple products are exclusionary. That isn’t necessary as “evil” as it sounds, considering that with cheaper products, you’re paying less in money but more in data. Privacy does have a cost, and cheap, privacy-focused products simply don’t seem to exist.
In all honesty, I could’ve written this article about any of the aforementioned products, but I chose HomePod specifically because it’s a new category that isn’t completely defined. Apple can charge a premium for most of its products because people either see Apple as a market leader, a brand they trust, or just the trendy thing, and they will pay the price. But for a category like this, it just doesn’t seem to be the best move.
What’s wrong with the HomePod isn’t technical no matter how much anyone complains about Siri or what it lacks in connectivity – it’s the price. At $349, I wouldn’t even consider buying one. At $249, I’m considering how I could use a second one.
I suspect I’ll have a lot more to say about Apple’s higher-trending ASP in the near future.
Source: Philtered Tech