retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• Apple has announced that its HomePod voice controlled smart speaker finally will be available for sale on February 9. The company will begin taking orders on Friday, and will retail for $349.

HomePod was introduced last June and originally was supposed to ship in time for the holidays. However, Apple deemed it not ready, and it delayed shipping until now.

In addition to being late in terms of Apple’s original plans, HomePod also is late to the party when compared to Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo system and the Google Home.

A potential problem for Apple, the story says, “is that consumers bought a rival speaker over the holiday season and have no immediate need for Apple’s new product. Amazon and Google cut prices on their entry-level speakers over the holiday season in an aggressive push for market share, analysts said.”

The story goes on: “Apple is working to keep its Siri voice assistant relevant in the face of competition from Amazon’s Alexa and Alphabet’s Google Assistant, both of which are featured on smart speakers from those companies. Apple also is counting on HomePod to boost subscriptions to Apple Music and block the rise of rival Spotify. The smart speakers from Google and Amazon let users give voice commands to play Spotify but Apple Music does not work on the rival devices.
KC's View:
I’m an Apple guy. Always have been. But I cannot imagine any reason for me to buy a HomePod, because I’m already invested in Amazon’s Alexa-based system.

That’s what happens when one company gets a big lead, and another misses the moment.