Apple is reportedly working on a new model of its Siri-powered HomePod wireless speaker that is thought to feature just two tweeters instead of seven along with a lower price point.
Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman and Debby Wu:
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.
Apple desperately needs a cheaper HomePod.
Whenever Apple enters a new product category, it usually does so with a high-end product. Only later in the game does it widen the addressable market by segmenting the product into several models to hit multiple price points. The strategy has served Apple well in computers, smartphones and tablets, but the wireless speaker market is an entirely different animal.
Smart speaker owners only use a fraction of the features, yet they buy these things for convenience. As many people don’t really know what they’re looking for in a smart speaker, they focus on the low end of the market dominated by sub-$100 products like Amazon’s Echo.
Amazon’s strategy is polar opposite to Apple’s.
Amazon tackled the wireless speaker market with an extremely affordable product in order to establish user base before introducing higher-end wireless speakers with added capabilities, like a built-in display/camera for videoconferencing. In fact, the online retail giant is now said to be readying an Echo model designed to compete directly with HomePod.
Meanwhile, Apple continues to expand availability of the current HomePod model around the world, with the next launch due in Japan and Taiwan tomorrow and pre-orders already open.
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