As Apple's HomePod misses Christmas, Amazon Alexa tops App Store charts for first time

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 83
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,308member
    zroger73 said:
    For Apple's sake, they better have a significantly superior product to overcome the popularity Amazon's Echo has gained.
    Oh just stifle it. The Echo and the HomePod are not even in the same ballpark marketwise. Why would a $50 gadget be competition to a $300 high end music streaming device? Just like a $50 Android phone is competition to the iPhone? Not hardly. The narrative here is to blast Apple for not producing the same $50 gadget with Siri as its AI. It’s about blasting Apple for not going for the low price, low margin stuff that doesn’t make anybody any money. Its about the traditional business model that says market share means everything. Amazon’s motive here is not to give customers this amazing device for a low price out of altruism. Amazon’s motive is to get this into as many homes as it can to promote its online store.
    edited December 2017 macplusplus
  • Reply 22 of 83
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,263member
    smaffei said:
    zroger73 said:
    For Apple's sake, they better have a significantly superior product to overcome the popularity Amazon's Echo has gained.
    The echo is cheap. I’m sure a lot of purchases are people just trying it out because the cost of entry is low. But is this the next big thing or is it another cheap fitness tracker that gets shoved in a drawer after a few months?
    Apple completely missed this market and no chance of ever catching up.
    You mean like how they were late to market selling a PMP? You mean like how they were late to the market selling a smartphone? You mean like how they were late to the market selling a tablet? You mean like how they were late to the market in creating a smartwatch? You mean like how they were late to the market selling Bluetooth headphones? You mean like how they were late to the market in designing a mobile processor and SoC?

    There's a pattern there. Apple is rarely first to a market and they add value to the markets they enter by making it a better experience. Creating disruptive technologies is what they do best, and you can't do that with a "me first" attitude or throwing shit at a wall to see what sticks. To your bleak prognostication, perhaps HomePod won't be a market success, but it's foolish to make any claim to that matter simply because Apple "missed" some imaginary  line in the sand.

    Granted, Amazon came out of nowhere with an amazing product that put Siri to shame in many regards from day one despite Siri having had existed for years, and Amazon does some really great things with transparency that I wish Apple would follow; specifically, Amazon sounds out an email every Friday listing various queries you can ask, letting you know of new features, and highlighting Skills (their 3rd-party apps for Alexa). I bet there's a whole slew of great Siri commands that I either have forgotten about because they didn't work great at one point or I've never known about. Plus, updated Siri features should comes at least every month, not only when iOS has been updated. Out of sight, out of mind plays a big role with a service with no display.
    edited December 2017 rogifan_newpscooter63argonaut
  • Reply 23 of 83
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,308member

    smaffei said:
    zroger73 said:
    For Apple's sake, they better have a significantly superior product to overcome the popularity Amazon's Echo has gained.
    The echo is cheap. I’m sure a lot of purchases are people just trying it out because the cost of entry is low. But is this the next big thing or is it another cheap fitness tracker that gets shoved in a drawer after a few months?
    Sounds like someone is butthurt over the fact that Apple completely missed this market and no chance of ever catching up. 

    HomePod will be 2018's equivalent of iPod H-Fi. Only the rabidly faithful will buy it and defend their purchase. Everyone else (with sense) will be telling Alexa to play something on Spotify.
    Yeah, the troll manifesto regurgitated. Only stupid people buy Apple products. Try thinking on your own instead of parroting the talking points you were given.
    Rayz2016
  • Reply 24 of 83
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,263member
    lkrupp said:
    zroger73 said:
    For Apple's sake, they better have a significantly superior product to overcome the popularity Amazon's Echo has gained.
    Oh just stifle it. The Echo and the HomePod are not even in the same ballpark marketwise. Why would a $50 gadget be competition to a $300 high end music streaming device? Just like a $50 Android phone is competition to the iPhone? Not hardly. The narrative here is to blast Apple for not producing the same $50 gadget with Siri as its AI. It’s about blasting Apple for not going for the low price, low margin stuff that doesn’t make anybody any money. Its about the traditional business model that says market share means everything. Amazon’s motive here is not to give customers this amazing device for a low price out of altruism. Amazon’s motive is to get this into as many homes as it can to promote its online store.
    1) Sonos One isn't $50.

    2) There's no limit to the cost or quality of the speaker and mic system used. You can even attach any wired or wireless speaker system you wish.

    3) $300 isn't "high end."

    4) To argue that the built-in speakers of their least expensive, entry level device is the measure by which all Alexa-capable devices and their discrete speakers should be measured is like saying that even the best headphones uses on an Phone don't count to improve audio performance because the built-in speaker on your iPhone is shit for listening to music.
    muthuk_vanalingamsunwukongargonaut
  • Reply 25 of 83
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,098member
    Kuyangkoh said:
    I wonder how Amazon mak3 on echo dot....
    Pretty much nothing. Amazon wants you to use the Echo Dot to order products from Amazon. That is how they plan to make their money. The same deal with the Kindle. For $39, you get a device that is nearly as good as the $250 iPad Mini (not that Apple sells the Mini anymore). So they probably actually LOSE money for each device that they "sell." (Granted, the normal retail price is $79 but they are almost always on sale for $39). But if you use that Kindle to so much as subscribe to Kindle Books Unlimited and Amazon Prime, then it is a nice and tidy profit for Amazon in 6 months. And if you decide to buy yourself a pair of jeans and/or a piece of furniture while surfing on your Kindle instead of going to the mall to buy them? Even more. Just as Google promotes cheap hardware to the masses to collect data, Amazon does the same to reach shoppers. 
    I think they have another plan to make money too: Targeted advertising, and in order to get a foothold not being as adverse to sharing a bit of user data as Google has been.
    edited December 2017 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 26 of 83
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,263member
    Why do so many of you think Amazon has to fail for Apple to succeed? Can you not imagine a HomePod or two in your living room, an Echo Plus in your kitchen, and an Echo Dot in your bathroom and bedroom? That's literally the setup I am expecting to have.
    [Deleted User]gatorguymuthuk_vanalingamlorin schultz
  • Reply 27 of 83
    A few comments: 1. All the Echo products (except the new Echo Spot) have been heavily discounted - at one point Home Depot was selling three dots for $30! So I'm not surprised that Echo's did well. 2. I don't understand the concept expressed by others here that the HomePod is competing with the Echo devices. I think the Echo and the HomePod are for different customers with a thin potential overlap. The HomePod appears to me to be aimed at audiophiles and Apple fans for who the price doesn't engender sticker shock. If Apple sells X number of these with it's usual sky-high margins it will reach a break even point and do quite nicely without selling anywhere near the same numbers that Echos sell. 3. If Apple was looking to provide a mass market device to insert itself into the home automation market, the HomePod clearly isn't it for a few reasons; stuff has been happening while Apple has been getting the pieces together for its version of home automation and secondly the HomePod is priced as a premium device. I wouldn't say Apple has missed the boat because there's always room in the market for quality products, and Apple is a master of the quality product, but the company's apparent development inertia means it appears to take far longer than expected to get a product out of the door - because of this slowness plus heavy competition from industry heavyweights plus price points, it will never be a leader in home automation. That doesn't mean it won't be an important player or innovator in this domain. 4. A previous commenter suggested that the Echo was known to be under development because all companies know whet their competitor is doing - not so, it came out of left base when announced by Amazon a few years back and was a genuine "disruptor" (if I recall correctly, same for the iPad).
    gatorguysunwukongargonaut
  • Reply 28 of 83
    512ke512ke Posts: 782member
    I do like Echo. A great advantage is Amazon Prime. If you already have it, then your Echo device has a great music library. It supplements what AP lacks from I heart radio etc. 

    I hope Apple's entry into this space doesn't require to to subscribe to Apple Music in order to offer a robust song selection. 
    edited December 2017 AI_liassunwukongargonaut
  • Reply 29 of 83
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,715member
    Amazon sells "millions" of these things and analysts fawn over the results. 

    Apple sells "millions" more of watches and analysts declare it a failure and a sign of trouble. 
  • Reply 30 of 83
    smaffei said:
    zroger73 said:
    For Apple's sake, they better have a significantly superior product to overcome the popularity Amazon's Echo has gained.
    The echo is cheap. I’m sure a lot of purchases are people just trying it out because the cost of entry is low. But is this the next big thing or is it another cheap fitness tracker that gets shoved in a drawer after a few months?
    Sounds like someone is butthurt over the fact that Apple completely missed this market and no chance of ever catching up. 

    HomePod will be 2018's equivalent of iPod H-Fi. Only the rabidly faithful will buy it and defend their purchase. Everyone else (with sense) will be telling Alexa to play something on Spotify.
    What arrogant nonsense. What about those of us who don’t use spotify? I’m firmly in the Apple garden, I have my music in iCloud Music Library and use Apple Music — spotify is useless to me. 
    pscooter63
  • Reply 31 of 83
    zroger73 said:
    For Apple's sake, they better have a significantly superior product to overcome the popularity Amazon's Echo has gained.
    The echo is cheap. I’m sure a lot of purchases are people just trying it out because the cost of entry is low. But is this the next big thing or is it another cheap fitness tracker that gets shoved in a drawer after a few months?
    How quickly we forget that the cost of entry for the iPod was similarly low. And similar to the iPod, the primary use for the smart speakers will be to play music, which people aren't going to suddenly stop doing. In other words, for most people, the Echo and the Home will simply be another small bluetooth speaker. And since small bluetooth speaker quality varies widely being able to get a quality, name-brand and 100% supported bluetooth speaker for as little as $29 - as opposed to the off brand Chinese equivalent that normally dominates at that price range - is a lure that should not be underestimated. Just get a name-brand one instead? Please. You will often see devices no better than the Alexa or Home going for 2-3 times as much. 

    I see that a lot of Apple fans are dismissing this category merely because it was one that Apple didn't originate by comparing it to fitness trackers. Never mind that Apple has only originated or disrupted with 3 devices - the iPod, iPhone and iPad - which leaves the entire rest of the tech world to others. And yes, this includes speakers, a market that Apple has little penetration or reputation in even after buying Beats. But here's the deal: tech products that tend to fail are those that are electronic/computerized versions of pre-existing successful and widely used non-electronic ones. Non-electronic fitness trackers (think pedometers) long existed, were never widely used, so there was no reason to think that they would ever be successful. In fact, the main lure of early fitness trackers was precisely the fact that you could pair them with your iPhone and use the iPhone to collect and track data. They were sold as iPhone accessories, NEVER as standalone devices. And since smartphones also had the very same health tracking features, they were redundant. They were also useful to people who were ALREADY bikers, joggers, gym rats etc. but worthless to everyone else. 

    But the iPod? It replaced the walkman and other portable radios/cassette players with a superior device. The iPhone? It replaced cell phones, which while not saturation ubiquitous like they are now, were still very common (imagine the opening sequence of "The Matrix" without them being so) as well as iPods and to a degree PCs. The iPad? Combination iPhone/PC/casual gaming console. That's why they were huge successes. They were new, better ways to do popular existing activities. The same way with Alexa and Google Home. At the very least, you get a very good Bluetooth speaker for $79. Before you claim that no one wants or needs those, you should state that Apple should stop selling the Beats Pill, especially if they are going to charge 3 times as much for it. The "smart" features for it? Sure, claim that there is any difference between saying "Hey Alexa" to your speaker and "Hey Siri" to your Apple TV or MacBook. There isn't. All it does is take a pre-existing successful product - a connected speaker - and add functionality to it that was popularized by Apple with Siri. The only reason for thinking that it would fail is having some strange notion that only Apple is capable of or deserves the right to create a successful product. Which, again, is bizarre because Apple makes only like 6 products: iPods, iPads, iPhones, set top boxes, watches, PCs.
    Great post, but unfortunately this place is populated by Apple psychopaths who take this company as though it were a dear family member they would defend till their last breath, and everything Apple touches turns to gold and they just " get in" , proof ? Well [ $ 900 Bln market cap and $260 Bln in the bank ]

     The thing about most Apple fanatics is that they only understand the Apple way and can't comprehend any other. The dot or the eco hardware that AMZ is selling isn't the product, if Bezos could he'd give those thing away for free, just as Apple give its iOS macOS watchOS and tvOS away for free because those things aren't the product Apple is selling, Apple sells relatively cheaply assembled hardware at a premium, the Alexa speakers are just a reverse of this.  
    sunwukong
  • Reply 32 of 83
    The echo is cheap. I’m sure a lot of purchases are people just trying it out because the cost of entry is low. But is this the next big thing or is it another cheap fitness tracker that gets shoved in a drawer after a few months?
    "People already invested in Amazon and Google products may be unlikely to mix-and-match platforms."

    I don't think 
    ownership of a $40 device is going to deter Apple product users from switching to the HomePod when it comes available, especially if that $40 device was a gift.  As for 

    "The vast majority of people in this alleged "ecosystem" only own 1 Apple device or at most two. Meaning that they may own an iPod or iPad or a MacBook, but few is the household that owns all 3, and even fewer is the household that owns other devices like the Apple Watch and the Apple TV. "

    I'd like to see the data source that precipitated that statement.  You can send it here [email protected]  Research notes I have read on right here AppleInsider state that iPhone users own (on average) 3+ Apple products.  For the past five years Apple's Services revenue (ecosystem) has experienced YoY growth at an average rate of 20.40%.  That rate far exceeds average iPhone revenue growth (12.44%) during the same period.  That strongly indicates that Apple's ecosystem is very popular among Apple device owners, no matter the number of Apple devices they may own.

    The more I read Cloudmobile's post on the subject the it feels like a shill statement: lots of statements diminishing the success of Apple's products with no supporting data.  At best its an unsupported opinion piece.
  • Reply 33 of 83

    smaffei said:
    zroger73 said:
    For Apple's sake, they better have a significantly superior product to overcome the popularity Amazon's Echo has gained.
    The echo is cheap. I’m sure a lot of purchases are people just trying it out because the cost of entry is low. But is this the next big thing or is it another cheap fitness tracker that gets shoved in a drawer after a few months?
    Sounds like someone is butthurt over the fact that Apple completely missed this market and no chance of ever catching up. 

    HomePod will be 2018's equivalent of iPod H-Fi. Only the rabidly faithful will buy it and defend their purchase. Everyone else (with sense) will be telling Alexa to play something on Spotify.
    Another Android troll/shill suffering from penis envy heard from.
  • Reply 34 of 83
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,152member
    Other than remembering to say "hey siri" instead of "alexa" (which is not a trivial thing to remember), I suspect there isn't much of a network/incumbency effect for alexa.

    I suspect this because, from what I've read and personally experienced, there hasn't been much take-up of the entrenching features of alexa and google home (smart home controls, connection with lists, etc.).  It appears that they are mostly used to set alarms, play music, etc.  Even music may not hook people too deeply in unless there are well-curated playlists as I understand that the libraries of each subscription service are roughly the same.  We are reasonably tech savvy (and, in fact, to try to understand the use cases of always-on listening, bought both an Echo and Google Home when they were each first released, as well as a dot when it was first released) but have not created an IFTTT workflow or enabled meaningful skills for either.  And, because needed, we created a dedicated google account for the Home but haven't really integrated calendars and similar.  We use both daily and heavily but almost exclusively for: radio, news, timers, alarms, and music (uploaded in the case of the Home; amazon prime in the case of Alexa).

    That said, given that spending dollars are limited, purchased alexa devices have of coursed squeeze out some portion of homepod purchases.  But, if some large portion of those alexa buyers figured "I can take a risk on this as it is $30", maybe even that squeeze out is not so meaningful as we have a sharply different price point.

    All of the above also means that homepod may not have much stickiness.  It will depend on how Apple handles iCloud accounts.  A home device ideally will work with multiple iCloud accounts which raises very difficult security and privacy issues.  How do I make sure that a reminder goes to MY reminders list and not my kid's?  How do I keep my notes or emails distinct from my kid's?  iMessages?  Very very tricky.
    Very good post! I'm a long time Amazon customer who's also deeply entrenched in Apple ecosystem. I bought a $30 Dot just to get a feel for what it can do. At that price point it's almost a no brainer if you're a gadget lover. I like the daily news brief, reminders, and ability to play radio stations - all of which Siri on my Mac, iPhone, or iPad can also do. Other than those rather trivial uses I'm still searching for a must-have application or IFTTT/Workflow automation, really anything, that lights up my interest in a big way or sucks me into wanting to buy more stuff on Amazon. Echo/Alexa is okay... but nothing approaching stickiness and with a meager $30 up-front investment it's virtually teflon coated. These things should be in blister packs at supermarket checkouts right next to the Skittles.

    The latent challenge with the current state of all of these voice assistants is that you really have to force/train yourself to use them as an alternative means to executing a task that you are already doing using another method. In other words, it's still a forced/learned use rather than a natural or intuitive one. The current use cases that surround these devices are all rather shallow, at least for home and casual users. I think that voice assistants have a huge potential with deep use cases for industrial, workplace, and customer interaction environments. Any reception desk that currently has a bell/ringer/buzzer or apartment/office building lobby with suite intercoms would be ideal candidates for intelligent voice assistants. Same with elevators ("Floor 3 please!"), parking garages ("What floor/space is car with license xyz123 in?"), direction kiosks, hotel concierge, etc. These are all scenarios where you're inclined to use your voice to ask somebody for help if a person is standing there and looks reasonably receptive and non-threatening. When I want to play a tune or shop for a product I typically will not ask someone to do it for me. Sure, I could ask Siri or Alexa but I have to force myself to do it, unless my hands are tied up or there is a physical impediment.

    The challenges to useful (as opposed to mostly novelty) use are to identify use cases where using Siri (et al) are natural and new use cases that are only possible because of Siri. It's awesome that Apple is continuing to invest in Siri to make it better and more accurate, but its day in the sun has not yet arrived. I think it will - eventually, with the right use cases and with broader and more natural socialization and acceptance by the other half of the equation: us humans.
    edited December 2017 pscooter63
  • Reply 35 of 83
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,263member
    The echo is cheap. I’m sure a lot of purchases are people just trying it out because the cost of entry is low. But is this the next big thing or is it another cheap fitness tracker that gets shoved in a drawer after a few months?
    I don't think ownership of a $40 device is going to deter Apple product users from switching to the HomePod when it comes available, especially if that $40 device was a gift. 
    $40 or $400, it doesn't really make a difference. I have Echos that use different wakewords because the damn microphones are so good that even a normal speaking voice is picked up across a room. This is no more problem than having children with different names. I guess if you're George Foreman this might be an issue.

    Now, Alexa is intelligent enough to only respond through one Echo instead of all them if they have the same wakeword, but this isn't always through the intended Echo's speaker, hence using a different wakeword. Now, some might say that this because Amazon, Echo, Alexa are failing at their job but it's a first-come first serve system, and I'm sure many are also assuming that the closest Echo (or Alexa-capable device, like Sonos One) should automatically be the first to hear the command… and it obvious is because of how sound travels, but you need to consider the next series of steps to record your request and send it to Amazon. The key factor is likely your local WiFi connection.
  • Reply 36 of 83
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,263member
    Other than remembering to say "hey siri" instead of "alexa" (which is not a trivial thing to remember)
    I can't think of anything more trivial in technology to remember. Humans have clearly evolved to understand that different people have different names as it's a cornerstone to civilization. Hell, it's in the same vein as categorizing and labeling every goddamn thing in existence.

    I guess if one of those people that write I-Phone a decade or you're Guy Pearce from Memento then it might be tough, but for the typical person it's simple as fuck.
  • Reply 37 of 83
    Soli said:
    smaffei said:
    eskaric said:
    Echo is discounted on Amazon already. Dot by 40% and 2nd generation by 20%. If it was selling so well, why would they discount it around the holidays. Something doesn't add up.
    Actually, they are the prices that Amazon wants to sell them at. The initial prices are to catch folks who will pay to be first.
    I was one of the first customers to buy an Echo 3 years ago. I only $99 when the retail price it went for was $179 soon after. Since then I've bought 3 others, yet I'm excited to see what Apple will do with HomePod.
    And, in fairness, you've been consistently positive about it (as have many others I know).

    Off-topic: I did the unthinkable -- instead of a new Apple TV (an utterly mediocre product), I bought the Fire TV. If I am going to be stuck with mediocrity, I might as well spend $70 rather than $180. Also, from all I've read, it travels better (both at home and abroad). My first ever Amazon product!
    edited December 2017 gatorguymuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 38 of 83
    smaffei said:
    zroger73 said:
    For Apple's sake, they better have a significantly superior product to overcome the popularity Amazon's Echo has gained.
    The echo is cheap. I’m sure a lot of purchases are people just trying it out because the cost of entry is low. But is this the next big thing or is it another cheap fitness tracker that gets shoved in a drawer after a few months?
    Sounds like someone is butthurt over the fact that Apple completely missed this market and no chance of ever catching up. 

    HomePod will be 2018's equivalent of iPod H-Fi. Only the rabidly faithful will buy it and defend their purchase. Everyone else (with sense) will be telling Alexa to play something on Spotify.
    Obviously you haven’t seen my previous posts in other threads where I wondered if Home Pod is too expensive and if there is a large enough market for Apple to go after here. Still doesn’t change my feelings about the smart speaker category overall. Tech bubble gets bored easily and is constantly looking for the next big thing. A few years ago it was VR this, VR that. Then everybody was doing chat bots. Now it’s smart speakers. Then the tech bubble will get bored with them and move on to something else.
  • Reply 39 of 83

    Do not think that Apple having their smart speaker on the market would have impacted much. You have to remember that this vaunted "Apple ecosystem" thing is mostly hype. The vast majority of people in this alleged "ecosystem" only own 1 Apple device or at most two. Meaning that they may own an iPod or iPad or a MacBook, but few is the household that owns all 3, and even fewer is the household that owns other devices like the Apple Watch and the Apple TV. 

    So, most people who own an iPad or iPhone own Windows PCs, not Macs, and access iTunes on Windows 7 or Windows 10. Lots of MacBook owners LOVE Samsung Galaxy devices. Most also own Rokus or smart TVs by Samsung/Sony/Vizio instead of Apple TV boxes ... or they own Playstations, Nintendos or XBox consoles. So the vast majority of the folks who bought the $29-$79 Echo products are like those: people who are Apple device owners but are not Apple ecosystem people. They mix and match devices from various platforms according to their needs and desires. Such people are going to be far more likely to spend $20 for an Echo Dot that they can control with their Alexa app on their iPhone 6s or 7 than spend $350 for an Apple speaker. Only a diehard Apple ecosystem type is going to have an interest in that. 

    And by the way ... even a diehard Apple ecosystem type would still not necessarily be against buying an Echo Dot ... just as lots of them have no problem owning a Samsung smart TV.
    I’d love to know what your source is for this. 
  • Reply 40 of 83
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,152member
    I had to change my Echo Dot's wake word because the Amazon television commercials from a TV in an adjacent room were causing the Dot in my office to react. 
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