Apple's HomePod has similar market share to high-end Echo Plus, Google Home Max

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2018
Although it has a following similar to other high end smart speakers, the Apple HomePod is still being eclipsed in the U.S. market by cheaper offerings by Amazon and Google, newly-published survey data suggests.

Apple HomePod


The HomePod accounts for 4 percent of speakers, Strategy Analytics said on Monday. The figure is based on a poll of 1,011 smartspeaker owners conducted in July and August.

The three leading devices were the Amazon Echo, the Echo Dot, and the Google Home, at 23, 21, and 8 percent, respectively. The HomePod effectively tied with several other Echo models, namely the Plus, Spot, Show, and Dot Kids Edition.

Apple has so far been silent on HomePod sales beyond maintaining a positive outlook, refusing to share exact numbers. Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimates published in August claimed that the company controlled a 6 percent share of a market said to be around 50 million installed speakers in the U.S.

Smart speaker market share


Apple's main obstacle has likely been price. The HomePod is $349, nearly $300 more than a third-generation Echo Dot, and $249 more than a standard Echo. While the HomePod provides much higher audio quality, Amazon's prices make it possible to scatter smartspeakers throughout a home.

Amazon's Alexa voice assistant is also typically considered more useful than Siri. The only music service natively supported by Siri, for instance, is Apple Music, whereas Alexa users have access to Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, and others.

Apple has been rumored as working on a cheaper HomePod, which could could conceivably be announced at an Oct. 30 press event.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,449member
    I've tried the 3rd generation Echo Dot and it's horrible. It sounds like a 2nd generation Dot under a pillow, only louder. The new treble and bass controls make little difference. It's the way the 3rd-gen is constructed/encased.
    edited October 2018 lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 22
    This subject has been topical for the last year and I can't believe that Apple isn't stepping up to the plate with better functionality for the HomePod.  There is a general consensus from consumers/reviewers/press that the sound quality is measurably better than the competition but at a high price point.  Excellent device but too expensive.  I believe that Apple has dropped the ball on this issue.  Clearly the growing family of Amazon Echo products layered with Alexa is sprinting to the lead and in my opinion justifiably so even though I have a strong bias to the Apple ecosystem of hardware and software.   The latest package of echo plus and Echo sub is closing the acoustic gap with sound improvements and functionality that the HomePod lacks..............It is a case, albeit a rare one for Apple that smacks of poor strategic management of this products evolution.  

    Peter
    elijahgevilutionwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 22
    I wish I could say otherwise but HomePod's voice recognition (not skills, basic recognition) is deeply lacking. Some reviews have talked about HomePod's great ability to hear through ambient noise and music but we just haven't been able to get HomePod to hear us consistently. Sometimes it's great; often it's not. And, I don't mean recognizing commands (although that is also lacking) but simply hearing "Hey Siri". We know we are speaking clearly enough because we have an iPad and usually an iPhone in the same room. We often don't see the recognition waveform on HomePod and yet the iPad recognizes the wake command. Siri skills and comprehension are also lacking of course but I assume that will improve with software. I'm concerned that the hardware "ears" are not that great (although I imagine a lot of that is also software that might be improved). Finally, music control on HomePod is puzzling - HomePod is inherently linked to an iOS device and yet there is no way to look on that iOS device for an "up next", history, or other obvious data bits. Which is super weird as I think HomePod's focus is consciously music and not "all-around-assistant". Given this focus, I can understand not playing games or ordering pizza (both of which are silly anyway) but why not at least offer some really high-quality controls in the Home App? If useful to gauge this comment, we have a Google Home in the same room that has near perfect recognition (from a worse location - when HomePod was in the same spot, it was almost useless) and Echos in other rooms that seem pretty good as well (but have recently been rebooting and dropping network connections; they are old examples from the original invitation-only days).
  • Reply 4 of 22
    NY1822NY1822 Posts: 591member
    The title of the article says "Google Home Max", but when siting percentages, says "Google Home"....what speaker are they referring to? the Max or the cheaper google home?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 22
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,339administrator
    NY1822 said:
    The title of the article says "Google Home Max", but when siting percentages, says "Google Home"....what speaker are they referring to? the Max or the cheaper google home?
    The Google Home, the Google Home Mini, and the Google Home Max are three different products. There's an embedded graphic with more detail.
    edited October 2018 bb-15
  • Reply 6 of 22
    robjnrobjn Posts: 203member
    Really enjoying HomePod. We recently moved and have a very echoey main room because it is almost empty, has tiled (hard) floor and high vaulted ceiling. Voices echo a lot! It is simply amazing that HomePod is able to play with zero echo!
    lolliverwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 22
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,476member
    So the guy at the top of the list is the one given away free, no surprised there
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 22
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,449member
    I wish I could say otherwise but HomePod's voice recognition (not skills, basic recognition) is deeply lacking. Some reviews have talked about HomePod's great ability to hear through ambient noise and music but we just haven't been able to get HomePod to hear us consistently. Sometimes it's great; often it's not.
    When HomePod was originally released, I was astounded at its voice recognition. Even when the device was playing loudly, it consistently responded properly to softly spoken commands. Not the case any more. I believe a software update many months ago is responsible, but I can't tell you which one. Perhaps Apple was infringing a patent and had to back out the superior technology. Sometimes the response is good, though, so maybe it's just that the HomePod sometimes changes focus and isn't always listening "closely."
    edited October 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 22
    I wish I could say otherwise but HomePod's voice recognition (not skills, basic recognition) is deeply lacking. Some reviews have talked about HomePod's great ability to hear through ambient noise and music but we just haven't been able to get HomePod to hear us consistently. Sometimes it's great; often it's not. And, I don't mean recognizing commands (although that is also lacking) but simply hearing "Hey Siri". We know we are speaking clearly enough because we have an iPad and usually an iPhone in the same room. We often don't see the recognition waveform on HomePod and yet the iPad recognizes the wake command.
    Do you really want all instances of Siri in a room to individually respond to every command?
  • Reply 10 of 22
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,449member
    svanstrom said:
    Do you really want all instances of Siri in a room to individually respond to every command?
    With apologies, I don't believe that's what "rare" was suggesting. They were pointing out that "Hey, Siri" was spoken clearly enough but the HomePod didn't recognize it. When i-Devices respond to "Hey, Siri", Apple has programmed the HomePod to handle requests preferentially.
    gatorguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 22
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 348member
    Ours does what we wanted. Plays music really well in our master bath while we get dressed in the morning. Also gives us the days weather. Don't really need it for anything else. Sound quality is terrific.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 22
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 821member
    The market for pricey home-speakers with such limited input options is small. The sound quality is great, and Siri usually gets song requests right. It does randomly join in with conversations as apparently I frequently say "hey Siri" mid-conversation which is a bit weird... It has a few bugs though, like asking it to play a podcast plain doesn't work. It replies with "OK, playing <your requested> podcast..." and nothing happens. Siri's inability to answer pretty much anything is just as bad as it always has been too.

    Unfortunately once again it seems Apple has released something and forgotten it exists. It had one minor update with iOS 12 - adding the ability to initiate a call from it and find your phone plus a couple of things I can't remember. That should have been an x.1 update. It's nice, but I wouldn't say it's worth the £320. Throwing in a couple of months Apple Music subscription would sweeten the deal.

    IMO a big improvement to "Hey Siri" would be to say "Hey HomePod" or "Hey iPhone", which would prevent the spurious (though usually temporary) activation of Siri on everything when talking to the HomePod.
    edited October 2018 williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 22
    cpsro said:
    I wish I could say otherwise but HomePod's voice recognition (not skills, basic recognition) is deeply lacking. Some reviews have talked about HomePod's great ability to hear through ambient noise and music but we just haven't been able to get HomePod to hear us consistently. Sometimes it's great; often it's not.
    When HomePod was originally released, I was astounded at its voice recognition. Even when the device was playing loudly, it consistently responded properly to softly spoken commands. Not the case any more. I believe a software update many months ago is responsible, but I can't tell you which one. Perhaps Apple was infringing a patent and had to back out the superior technology. Sometimes the response is good, though, so maybe it's just that the HomePod sometimes changes focus and isn't always listening "closely."
    I had the same experience. Started off fantastic, then one day we were noticing we had to often repeat Hey Siri. Especially my wife, it just wouldn’t listen to her. 

    I reset set both HomePods and re-paired them as a stereo pair. This seems to have done the trick. Either that, or the iOS 12 upgrade did it. 

    Either way, once again it hears us perfectly. 

    Anyway, if you’re having issues like all iOS devices the easiest “fix” is to restore the device. Doesn’t hurt to try. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 22
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,349member
    I bought a HomePod, day 1. Got it home and it’s pretty much useless unless you have Apple Music, which I don’t.
    it needs way more features.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 15 of 22
    I wish I could say otherwise but HomePod's voice recognition (not skills, basic recognition) is deeply lacking. Some reviews have talked about HomePod's great ability to hear through ambient noise and music but we just haven't been able to get HomePod to hear us consistently. Sometimes it's great; often it's not. And, I don't mean recognizing commands (although that is also lacking) but simply hearing "Hey Siri". We know we are speaking clearly enough because we have an iPad and usually an iPhone in the same room. We often don't see the recognition waveform on HomePod and yet the iPad recognizes the wake command. Siri skills and comprehension are also lacking of course but I assume that will improve with software. I'm concerned that the hardware "ears" are not that great (although I imagine a lot of that is also software that might be improved). Finally, music control on HomePod is puzzling - HomePod is inherently linked to an iOS device and yet there is no way to look on that iOS device for an "up next", history, or other obvious data bits. Which is super weird as I think HomePod's focus is consciously music and not "all-around-assistant". Given this focus, I can understand not playing games or ordering pizza (both of which are silly anyway) but why not at least offer some really high-quality controls in the Home App? If useful to gauge this comment, we have a Google Home in the same room that has near perfect recognition (from a worse location - when HomePod was in the same spot, it was almost useless) and Echos in other rooms that seem pretty good as well (but have recently been rebooting and dropping network connections; they are old examples from the original invitation-only days).
    I found that position plays a greater role for HomePod to accurately 'hear' what you're saying. Placing a HomePod near busy area such as window with the street below is less effective than placing it near a wall in the room. Also, by design, Apple makes the closest device to you to response to your voice first. So if you have an iPhone or iPad nearer than the HomePod to you, then those are the one activated by 'Hey Siri'. This is actually kinda annoying and I hope Apple fix it by giving an ability to name devices. Other than that, HomePod is a simple device with great sound quality, so I am quite happy with it. As for history, etc. I don't see how it works if you use HomePod as standalone instead of playing from iPhone, seeing that everyone can use it to play music.
  • Reply 16 of 22
    hagarhagar Posts: 108member
    Not interested in the HomePod as long as it doesn’t support multiple users. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 17 of 22
    I hate to say it, but the HomePod is *shit*. A truly embarrassingly bad product. And that is despite great sound quality. It may work well for some, and good for them, but due to fundamental design failures, it adds negative value to my experience of the Apple ecosystem.

    I can no longer use Siri with my phone at home. And that is appalling. It would be trivially easy to fix this - and they've already done most of the hard work! The phone and the HomePod talk to each other, to make sure only one answers me. But it's always the homepod, despite it being obviously not the right choice. For example, if I say "Hey Siri, show me the weather", that obviously refers to the device with the damn screen! Or I say "Call xxx on my phone", it recognizes the words... and then calls on the homepod. (And then fails, but that's another story of error and shame.) When I'm two rooms away from the damn homepod, it intercepts my commands. Seriously? Trivially comparing the volume between the two devices would produce an obvious winner, but no...

    Great hardware, but the software is so full of fail it feels like a MicroSoft product from the 1990s or 2000s. Broken by design, over and over again. And that's before we talk about all the stuff it should have but doesn't (which I won't, because others have said it already, many times over).
    gatorguymuthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondon
  • Reply 18 of 22
    If I had a Google, FaceBook, Amazon device in my home, I'd be wearing a large cardboard box to hide my identity! :)
    andrewj5790williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 22
    Apple ExposedApple Exposed Posts: 15unconfirmed, member
    HomePod is the newest product and at $349 I'd say it's doing great.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 22
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,266member
    Oh look ... when you compare Apple products with comparable products, Apple’s always doing just fine.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
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