Wednesday, October 10, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

The Battle for the Home

Ben Thompson:

If the first stage of competition in consumer technology was the race to be the computer users went to (won by Microsoft and the PC), and the second was to be the computer users carried with them (won by Apple in terms of profits, and Google in terms of marketshare), the outlines of the current battle came sharply into focus over the last month: what company will win the race to be the computer within which users live?

[…]

There is one final question that overshadows all-of-this: while the home may be the current battleground in consumer technology, is it actually a distinct product area — a new epoch if you will? When it came to mobile, it didn’t matter who had won in PCs; Microsoft ended up being an also-ran.

The fortunes of Apple, in particular, depend on whether or not this is the case. If it is a truly new paradigm, than it is hard to see Apple succeeding. It has a very nice speaker, but everything else about its product is worse. On the other hand, the HomePod’s close connection to the iPhone and Apple’s overall ecosystem may be its saving grace: perhaps the smartphone is still what matters.

Previously: Initial HomePod Sales.

Update (2018-10-22): Joe Rossignol:

Apple’s HomePod is the ninth most popular smart speaker model in the United States, according to an online survey of 1,011 smart speaker users conducted by research firm Strategy Analytics in July and August.

Marco Arment:

I like my HomePod, but there are still three huge problems compared to the Echo that sits next to it:

- Siri is much slower to respond than Alexa

- Siri isn’t as reliable as Alexa

- The HomePod ecosystem is limited to a single device, and it’s too expensive.

1 Comment

No, tying everything together and making it essentially only work if everything you have is an Apple product, is not good design. It's very Microsoft of the nineties though. If you don't have Windows, you couldn't do anything with peripheral devices. Apple is better than this and should fix their strategy. Each device should be a wondrous stand alone device, that can work even better if you happen to have other Apple devices. Bonus features rather than requirement is key.

P.s. Knowing this thing would be an also ran, at least early on, was clear as day, kind of like watching the "awesome new game console", err, Apple TV, go down in flames because Apple doesn't understand content or gaming. Exhibit A was the ridiculous early failure of their own home grown video series and for exhibit b (backing up my latter point), Minecraft tvOS edition has been discontinued. They are toast. I said it.

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