New global smartspeaker data shows Apple's HomePod remains a bit player

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple and the HomePod remain a marginal factor in the global smartspeaker market, not even in the top five brands, according to new research estimates.

Apple HomePod


The company fell into an "others" category reserved for companies outside the top five brands during the March quarter, which in total saw just 2.9 million shipments, Canalys said in a Monday report. The top five identified vendors were Amazon, Google, Baidu/Xiaodu, Alibaba, and Xiaomi.

Holding onto its lead, Amazon was up 84.7% year-over-year to 4.6 million units. Google grew 7% to 3.5 million. Chinese makers were on the march though, with Alibaba up 204.3% to 3.2 million, and Xiaomi rocketing 411.4% to 3.2 million. Baidu/Xiaodu speakers are less than a year old.

Canalys did not disclose figures for Apple in the report, instead choosing to discuss the other vendors in the list and the market as a whole.

Since its launch in February 2018, Apple has marketed the HomePod foremost as high-end audio, almost downplaying its Siri and HomeKit integrations. The product has likely been held back by its price tag -- though Apple has permanently lowered the price from $349 to $299, that still makes it far more expensive than Amazon and Google's entry-level speakers, which start at around $49. Even a bundle of two Amazon Echo speakers and the Echo Sub is $50 less than a single HomePod.

Apple has periodically been rumored as working on a lower-cost HomePod, but that talk has largely quietened down.

Another obstacle may be a lack of third-party integrations. There are far fewer HomeKit accessories than ones compatible with Amazon Alexa, and the only music service with full Siri integration is Apple Music -- leaving out world leader Spotify, as well as smaller regional players like Deezer and Pandora.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    Still love mine! Sound quality compared to any of the other offerings at this price or below just not as good, IMO.
    davenStrangeDaysMoody1940lolliverRobPalmer9p-dogracerhomie3
  • Reply 2 of 49
    Siri killed it.

    It’s not a hardware problem, Apple’s superior in that regard.

    The question is: How do you develop a superior AI without customer data?
    ... Who’s asking the question?  Why? How? Where? ... kind of important.

    Smart speakers are more than just about playing music...
    n2itivguybigtds
  • Reply 3 of 49
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 920member
    The sound quality is great, but even at £279 still really expensive compared to other offerings, and Siri is crap. I don't buy the privacy = no customer data line, as Apple uses differential privacy to allow them to gather anonymous data. There's just so many basic things Siri can't do: "I can't do that on HomePod" is quite possibly the most common line uttered by my HomePod - I'm surprised every time it does something right. That's not a good experience for the £330 I originally paid for it.
    edited May 20
  • Reply 4 of 49
    n2itivguyn2itivguy Posts: 60member
    Siri killed it.

    It’s not a hardware problem, Apple’s superior in that regard.

    The question is: How do you develop a superior AI without customer data?
    ... Who’s asking the question?  Why? How? Where? ... kind of important.

    Smart speakers are more than just about playing music...
    This is exactly what’s been holding me back from purchasing, at minimum, three HomePods. Until Apple can create multi-user support, no money’s spent. 
  • Reply 5 of 49
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,260member
    Of course, it's a 'bit' player, it's digital!  ;)
    mobirdjdgazlkruppDanManTXkruegduden2itivguyhorvaticJWSCchasmlolliver
  • Reply 6 of 49
    bigtdsbigtds Posts: 66member
    This thing is useless to anyone other than and apple user. Too bad. Just allowing Bluetooth streaming would have opened Homepod up to so many more people.
  • Reply 7 of 49
    The HomePod is sold in only six countries in the world (US, UK, Australia, Canada, France and Germany)
    caladanianchasmlolliver
  • Reply 8 of 49
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 920member
    bigtds said:
    This thing is useless to anyone other than and apple user. Too bad. Just allowing Bluetooth streaming would have opened Homepod up to so many more people.
    It does actually have Bluetooth, but (presumably) because Cook wants you to help inflate his services income, it won't stream anything but Apple Music directly, and trying to stream other services over AirPlay is a hassle.
  • Reply 9 of 49
    mobirdmobird Posts: 143member
    Bigtds mentioned Bluetooth capabilities, could this be opened up with the current hardware that is in place? I believe that Bluetooth 5.0 is already on board. Could a firmware/software update extend the options available to use the HomePod outside of Airplay?
  • Reply 10 of 49
    Sonos just added Google Assistant last week. Trying to get Sonos/Alexa/Spotify to work in my country was impossible but the Assistant update has made the Sonos finally more usable. I could see myself getting a couple more if Sonos made the One better looking and if I could be more sure that they're around for the long haul. I see Denon's parent bought Pioneer/Onkyo last week. It must be difficult to be in the hifi business these days. It's just a matter of time before Sonos gets bought out.
  • Reply 11 of 49
    KuyangkohKuyangkoh Posts: 328member
    n2itivguy said:
    Siri killed it.

    It’s not a hardware problem, Apple’s superior in that regard.

    The question is: How do you develop a superior AI without customer data?
    ... Who’s asking the question?  Why? How? Where? ... kind of important.

    Smart speakers are more than just about playing music...
    This is exactly what’s been holding me back from purchasing, at minimum, three HomePods. Until Apple can create multi-user support, no money’s spent. 
    That’s why you have the choices.....theres 4 for $100 speakers out there. Like I said if you cannot afford Apple products stay away from them.....you have the choices. Me I can afford all of them so I have everything new. Period 
    lkruppStrangeDays
  • Reply 12 of 49
    Have had a homepod since launch and use it daily.  And am frustrated near daily by Siri not understanding one request or another.  And, although the sound is fine, have not been blown away as some early reviews suggested I might be.  We have a Google Home in the same room and its comprehension is miles better (as is its skill-set but Apple has not claimed Homepod is a general purpose information device so skill-set is not an appropriate complaint).

    Unexpectedly, my biggest problem with homepod is the difficulty in controlling from an iPad/iPhone.  Even changing the volume is a chore (note that I sometimes need to do this on an iOS device because Siri on the homepod is not understanding me).  Unexpectedly because this doesn't even require Siri and so is just UX design.

    I still think that the screen on top should display the time remaining when using a timer.  We know it can and it would be superior to asking constantly how much time is remaining.
    elijahgcaladanian
  • Reply 13 of 49
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,632member
    Siri killed it.

    It’s not a hardware problem, Apple’s superior in that regard.

    The question is: How do you develop a superior AI without customer data?
    ... Who’s asking the question?  Why? How? Where? ... kind of important.

    Smart speakers are more than just about playing music...
    Still showing you don't understand the HomePod. I have two -- I think of it as high-end, rooming-filling audio, not a gimmicky smart speaker. It's excellent music, and casual home theater. Siri use is HomeKit commands, and basic playback commands. The use case isn't for much more than that, so the suggested problems with Siri are a complete non-issue. 

    I'm guessing it's a profitable line for Apple, and that they (as usual) don't care about worshipping at the Church of Market Share.
    lolliver
  • Reply 14 of 49
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,071member
    Kind of silly to compare the HomePod, an awesome sounding speaker that has some smarts, with $30 smart voice query devices like Amazon’s Echo Dot that have barely functional audio performance. I love both devices, but for much different reasons.

    As far as Bluetooth support, ymmv, but I’ve never found a Bluetooth speaker that is as reliable and easy to use as the HomePod with AirPlay and with Apple Music I have 40 million songs on my countertop whether I have an iDevice with me or not. 

    Everyone has their own tastes, so you can buy whatever makes you happy. It’s not a zero-sum game, everyone gets to play.  I hate claptrap and the HomePod is as anti-claptrap as you can possibly get for an awesome sounding and room filling music playback device.

    I have had no problems at all with using Siri for music related queries. Yeah, I ask very little of Siri on the HomePod because it’s a music device. If I want to get chatty or delve into arcane trivia there’s a $30 Alexa in the same room that I can converse with endlessly- as long as it doesn’t try to talk or fart over the music. 
    lolliver
  • Reply 15 of 49
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,632member

    elijahg said:
    bigtds said:
    This thing is useless to anyone other than and apple user. Too bad. Just allowing Bluetooth streaming would have opened Homepod up to so many more people.
    It does actually have Bluetooth, but (presumably) because Cook wants you to help inflate his services income, it won't stream anything but Apple Music directly, and trying to stream other services over AirPlay is a hassle.
    You're high. Streaming via AirPlay is effortless, and sounds much better than BT. You want a BT speaker, go get one, plenty on the market. But if you want a high-quality AP speaker, there are much fewer excellent options, and HP is certainly one of them.
    caladanianlolliverpscooter63fastasleep
  • Reply 16 of 49
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 920member
    Kuyangkoh said:
    n2itivguy said:
    Siri killed it.

    It’s not a hardware problem, Apple’s superior in that regard.

    The question is: How do you develop a superior AI without customer data?
    ... Who’s asking the question?  Why? How? Where? ... kind of important.

    Smart speakers are more than just about playing music...
    This is exactly what’s been holding me back from purchasing, at minimum, three HomePods. Until Apple can create multi-user support, no money’s spent. 
    That’s why you have the choices.....theres 4 for $100 speakers out there. Like I said if you cannot afford Apple products stay away from them.....you have the choices. Me I can afford all of them so I have everything new. Period 
    Not sure how the price of the HomePod has anything to do with multi-user support?
    fastasleep
  • Reply 17 of 49
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,071member

    Unexpectedly, my biggest problem with homepod is the difficulty in controlling from an iPad/iPhone.  Even changing the volume is a chore (note that I sometimes need to do this on an iOS device because Siri on the homepod is not understanding me).  Unexpectedly because this doesn't even require Siri and so is just UX design.


    I’m not disputing what you’re saying but I’m amazed by how well Siri reacts to volume requests. 

    Hey Siri, increase the volume. 
    Hey Siri, decrease the volume. 
    Hey Siri, what’s the current volume?
    Hey Siri, set the volume to forty percent. 
    Hey Siri, who is this artist. 

    The biggest difference I see with HomePod compared to Echo devices is its ability to understand me regardless of the output volume of the speaker. I can interact with HomePod at a normal speaking volume even when HomePod is blasting away at high volume. 


    StrangeDayslolliver
  • Reply 18 of 49
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 920member

    Have had a homepod since launch and use it daily.  And am frustrated near daily by Siri not understanding one request or another.  And, although the sound is fine, have not been blown away as some early reviews suggested I might be.  We have a Google Home in the same room and its comprehension is miles better (as is its skill-set but Apple has not claimed Homepod is a general purpose information device so skill-set is not an appropriate complaint).

    Unexpectedly, my biggest problem with homepod is the difficulty in controlling from an iPad/iPhone.  Even changing the volume is a chore (note that I sometimes need to do this on an iOS device because Siri on the homepod is not understanding me).  Unexpectedly because this doesn't even require Siri and so is just UX design.

    I still think that the screen on top should display the time remaining when using a timer.  We know it can and it would be superior to asking constantly how much time is remaining.
    It's a ring of LEDs, not a LCD display. The colour could change perhaps to indicate the time remaining, but trying to have an actual display would be infeasible. I agree with you over remote control of the HP though, it's difficult to do so from the Watch too. When a HomePod is playing, iOS should always show the controls on the associated iOS device as it does when the iOS device is playing locally. Otherwise it's a hassle to go into the control centre, choose the "now playing" control, then scroll to the HP. Whilst Airplay 2 is definitely better than 1, the accessibility of the controls is still pretty awkward.
  • Reply 19 of 49
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,618member
    Kuyangkoh said:
    n2itivguy said:
    Siri killed it.

    It’s not a hardware problem, Apple’s superior in that regard.

    The question is: How do you develop a superior AI without customer data?
    ... Who’s asking the question?  Why? How? Where? ... kind of important.

    Smart speakers are more than just about playing music...
    This is exactly what’s been holding me back from purchasing, at minimum, three HomePods. Until Apple can create multi-user support, no money’s spent. 
    That’s why you have the choices.....theres 4 for $100 speakers out there...  
    Like I said if you cannot afford Apple products stay away from them
    It's not always about being able to afford something. No doubt you could afford a more expensive car or afford a more expensive vacation. Ofttimes the price has little or nothing to do with whether you would enjoy them more.  
    elijahgKITAmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 20 of 49
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 920member


    elijahg said:
    bigtds said:
    This thing is useless to anyone other than and apple user. Too bad. Just allowing Bluetooth streaming would have opened Homepod up to so many more people.
    It does actually have Bluetooth, but (presumably) because Cook wants you to help inflate his services income, it won't stream anything but Apple Music directly, and trying to stream other services over AirPlay is a hassle.
    You're high. Streaming via AirPlay is effortless, and sounds much better than BT. You want a BT speaker, go get one, plenty on the market. But if you want a high-quality AP speaker, there are much fewer excellent options, and HP is certainly one of them.
    You're the one who's high, on Apple fumes apparently. Try removing your head from Apple's ass once in a while, the air out here is quite nice.

    It's not effortless. iOS frequently forgets that I'm controlling the HomePod and the controls just go away, so another dive into the control centre/music app's Airplay button to select the HP. Same on the Watch.

    Playing from iTunes to multiple Airplay devices is slow and clunky, enabling another output causes the music to stall while it waits for the device to wake up and then there's a 50-50 chance of it actually working or going back to one output, so then I have to go through the slow and frustrating procedure of trying to coax iTunes into enabling multiple outputs again. And before you make your usual excuse that the Mac is too slow or old hardware/user error/can't possibly be an Apple issue, it's a 2019 i9 iMac and a 4K AppleTV over a gigabit connection through Ubiquiti networking gear. And the iOS multi-output Airplay UI isn't much better.

    Oh, there's no way to add a delay to an AirPlay output either, so Airplay on my AppleTV ends up with a few tens of milliseconds delay relative to the HomePod, making its output unusable anyway. Airplay should be using broadcasts when more than one device is playing instead of unicasting to each device, would help with synchronisation. And before you try and blame the speakers attached to the AppleTV, the delay is still present with different speakers.

    Bluetooth can stream lossless audio, so that's nothing to do with anything. The quality from a decent BT speaker can be just as good as the HomePod. I have a Bose Bluetooth speaker, and it's pretty damn good, especially as it was less than half the cost of the HP. 
    edited May 20 gatorguymuthuk_vanalingam
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