The “One More Thing” for Apple’s WWDC 2017 was the HomePod, a brand new device from Apple in a brand new category for Apple.
I love it! I LOVE it!
I know nothing about the product’s quality and most likely I will not buy it in the next year or so. As a matter of fact, no one will buy it in the next 6 months as it is coming out in December 2017. All I love about the product is how Apple is marketing the product.
I still call it a product and not a speaker or a music player or an Artificial Intelligence Assistant or whatever else you might want to call because people actually see the product from many different point of views.
Before the WWDC 2017 presentation everyone expected that Apple will do what it always does: Come late in to the game of virtual AI assistants and create an amazing product that is so much better than anything else out there that at the end of the day it will capture a huge and profitable part of the market. This is what happened with the iPhone (best selling product ever), the iPad (best selling tablet ever), the Apple Watch (best selling wearable ever).
But that is not what Apple did. Because they can’t do that. Yet. They can’t present the best home, virtual, AI (I’m not even sure what the Amazon Alexa and Google Home category should be called) device yet because Siri is not as versatile as the competitors. So they did what any marketeer worth their salt must do. Create a new category. And OWN IT!
Obviously speakers are not a new category. We are all surrounded by them, we have them everywhere. Our laptops, televisions, computers and cars have them. Even Jing Yang’s fridge has them! And obviously Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home have them. But Apple created the ultimate speaker. One that will give you the most amazing music every, the best possible sound for a rather reasonable cost.
All the High Fidelity enthusiasts know that if you want to have good sound you probably end up spending a few thousand dollars. That’s why this market is only for a niche. It doesn’t serve everyone. Most people listen to their music from their laptops, TVs and a smaller percentage on a home stereo. The quality of sound that comes even from the best laptop, TV and mobile phone speakers is usually crap or in the best case it is half-decent, not even decent.
If you spend a couple of thousand USD on a home stereo you start to get some quality music but still you have to be careful on how to place your speakers in your room, what kind of cabling to use, what is your music source and many other things that a Hi-Fi enthusiast will be happy to talk all day long. But most people, can’t afford and don’t know how to get there. The simplest solution is have their music come from their laptop’s speakers. Even if it is crappy it is still better than silence (is it though?)
This is where Apple with all the firepower they have comes in. They created the best ever speaker. A speaker that will make your music sound AMAZING no matter where you place it, how big is your room, what kind of cabling you use (oh yes, it doesn’t need any cabling).
This is the first time that someone with the ability to promote a product to a huge following will introduce a product that will improve their experience with music. It is almost affordable for many people and it doesn’t take space. It looks good. It says Apple on top (or bottom probably) and the music experience is FANTASTIC.
If you now want to buy the best speaker out there, you will have to start googling it, asking people, reading reviews and forums. Visiting a store and listen to at least a few different brands, make a shortlist and then spend a few hundred dollars and buy the speakers that you want. Or just buy HomePod. It is that simple. Apple made it simple and straightforward to buy the best speakers out there. Marantz doesn’t create them, Samsung doesn’t create good speakers but obviously Apple does!
This is brilliant marketing! Creating a product that is so closely connected to a story that Apple always says and it is core to their offering such as music and then making the experience for everyone better is the way forward. Like they did with the ipod, the earpods, the beats headphones, the itunes, Apple music and now HomePod.
Well played Apple, your victory is well deserved!