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Cost is a relative thing. Perhaps Apple would have been better to introduce HomePod at $175 in order to firstly gain market share, and then move up to premium HomePodPro models. They couldn’t drop the quality though, people expect poor quality from Google and Samsung, even Amazon, but poor quality from Apple would not be tolerated, so it would have to be the same model, but at a price that doesn’t really make them money - which a lot of companies do to gain traction. That said, $349 is not a lot for an excellent speaker system, which HomePod is. Well advanced technically from the competing tinny speakers, and cheaper that Google’s premium speaker, it’s main issue is that people compare it to the little tinnies because of its similar look and size. Looking forward to receiving mine next week!