Earlier this week, Bloomberg published a breakdown of the new hardware likely coming from Apple over the next year. One detail in the report was that Apple is apparently planning a lower-cost HomePod. Would you be willing to sacrifice sound quality in order to get a cheaper HomePod?
Ecobee HomeKit Thermostat
Bloomberg’s report detailed that Apple could release this cheaper HomePod “as early as next year.” It would purportedly feature two tweeters inside, instead of the seven tweeter setup that the current HomePod includes.
Apple is also working on a cheaper HomePod for as early as next year. The current $300 model hasn’t sold very well. The new model is likely to have two tweeters (a type of loudspeaker), down from seven in the current HomePod.
When it was first released, the HomePod was available for $349. Earlier this year, however, Apple permanently dropped that price to $299. The company didn’t give a reason for the change, but it’s easy to infer that price drop was due to weak demand.
As the AirPlay ecosystem has grown, we’ve seen new AirPlay 2 compatible speakers pop up at various different price points. Despite the superior sound quality of the HomePod, the availability of lower-cost options has likely dampened interest in Apple’s own speaker.
Apple could theoretically revitalize its HomePod brand with a lower-cost option, but that lower price point would seemingly be obtained by reducing sound quality. Such as by reducing the number of tweeters like Bloomberg suggests.
It would be a tricky balance for Apple to achieve, especially with existing competition already on the market. The Sonos One, for instance, packs AirPlay 2 functionality into a $200 speaker with excellent sound quality. Could Apple match – or beat – that price, but with similar sound quality?
Not to mention, Sonos is also developing a portable ‘Sonos Move’ speaker that is also reportedly set to integrate AirPlay 2. Sonos speakers also integrate competing platforms such as Amazon and Google.
Personally, I would love to see Apple try its hand at a lower-cost HomePod, even though it faces stiff competition from Sonos and other companies. Part of what makes the HomePod so nice is it’s sound quality, so there would be a tricky balance for Apple to strike between sound quality and price.
For Apple to take HomePod “mainstream,” getting below the $200 price point is very important. In a world where smart speakers from Amazon can be had for well under $150, Apple faces an interesting challenge when it comes to weighing the importance of sound quality versus price for the average consumer.
What do you think? Would you be interested in a lower price HomePod? Let us know in the poll below and down in the comments.