Apple Watch is a huge success. I think HomePod will follow a similar path.

Canalys:

Apple Watch shipments beat expectations, topping 18 million in 2017, up by more than 54% on 2016. The Series 3 was the key growth driver, as total shipments of the latest version of Apple’s Watch were just under 9 million, making up nearly half of all shipments in 2017. Apple’s Q4 performance was impressive in itself, as shipments grew by more than 32% over Q4 2016 to 8 million, the highest ever number of shipments in a single quarter, not just for Apple, but for any wearable vendor.

I recognize that these are vastly different products, but Apple’s success with Apple Watch after much skepticism from the market reminds me strongly of the imminent rollout of HomePod.

The early watchOS experience is quite different from what we’ve got today. Complications (the hot spots on the watch face that update with things like notifications, current weather, etc.) and Activities integration are but two major changes that rolled out over time and significantly changed Apple Watch’s usefulness.

What’s critical to me is that those changes rolled out as free software updates. And they work on the original hardware. I have on my wrist a Series 0 Apple Watch (the very first publicly available model) and it works with the latest rev of watchOS. It can be a bit slow at times, but other than that, it works perfectly.

The point is, Apple Watch at birth was almost nothing like what we have today. And I believe the same thing will be true for HomePod. Yes, there are limitations on what we can get from Siri today, limitations on what and how we connect to HomePod. But I believe a year or two will bring a sea change of improvements and functionality. And I believe those changes will continue to work on the existing hardware.



  • Jurassic

    “Apple Watch shipments beat expectations, topping 18 million in 2017, up by more than 54% on 2016.”

    That translates into approximately 7+ Billion dollars. That is a huge amount (larger than the annual income of most companies), and an amazing accomplishment for a product that is only a few years old!

    I agree that the HomePod is likely to follow a similar path, after a few years of updates and added features (as usually happens over time with Apple products). 😉

    • john doofus

      HomePod might be an Airpods-sized business, but I don’t think it can be as big as the watch.

      The watch sells for much more per unit and I think it will sell many more units – there’s more wrists than living rooms, and (more significantly) I think the upgrade cycle is much shorter.

      • GlennC777

        Good points. You’re obviously suggesting that Apple has designed the HomePod not as a business, but as a valuable addition to their ecosystem.

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  • Steve__S

    As a speaker, I’ve heard nothing but praise for the HomePod sound quality. However, I feel like Apple is dropping the ball with HomePod by limiting content to Apple’s paid cloud services (Apple Music and iTunes Match). I also think Apple is making a mistake by not allowing the speaker to have a wired cable for things like input from the TV, etc. Airplay is fine, but it’s also a niche use case.

    • GlennC777

      I’m coming around to the idea that one of the highest friction points for any device is the need to plug it into other devices. Maybe Apple wants Airplay to be a primary source of control, hence Airplay 2, etc. If it became easy to use, dead reliable, flexible, and provided excellent bandwidth, I don’t think I could argue against it.

      Just possibly, Apple could be thinking ahead with this.

      • Steve__S

        When my TV supports Airplay 2 out of the box, I might be inclined to agree with you. It doesn’t. Also, all indications seem to suggest that HomePod works with Apple’s paid services but apparently doesn’t serve up music from your home library in iTunes. I hope I’m wrong about that. However, if that’s the case, then I doubt Apple is “thinking ahead with this”.

  • Kelly Johnson

    I’m fairly sure the Elac Discovery Z3 wireless zone speaker will blow away the HomePod in connectivity and sound quality. But it is more expensive, and does not have Siri. I don’t care for Siri, personally; she does not understand my voice very well after years of using her. She’s a very slow learner.

    • GlennC777

      You need to check out the Zephyr Xylite 9300 Mark VII. Still no Siri, but it’s got woofers the size of a house and the frequency response of an earthquake. Connectivity is via polyplasmic multi-point prehensile ecto-piezo self-guided elements that will suck the last tenth-dB of dynamic range out of any device it connects to.

      I predict sales well into the dozens.

  • Ian Goss

    “Crucial”.