5 ways HomePod could catch up with its rivals

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HomePod Close Up
We like the HomePod. We just think there's a lot more Apple could do with it.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The iPhone dominates smartphone sales charts. The iPad is so ubiquitous that, for many, its name is a catch-all term for any tablet. The Mac is the most desirable computer out there. But the HomePod? Not so much.

According to figures released this week, Apple’s smart speaker made up just a tiny 6 percent share of all smart speaker shipments for the first quarter of 2018. What is Apple doing wrong? And what could it do to turn things around? Here are five suggestions for HomePod improvements we’d like to see.

Apple’s HomePod miscalculation will haunt the company for years

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homepod
Apple's premium pricing strategy for the first-generation HomePod may keep it from ever being really successful.
Photo: Apple

The fact that the HomePod isn’t selling well means that Apple has probably missed its chance to ever be a significant part of the smart speaker market, according to analysts from Deutsche Bank.

Sales of inexpensive rival devices are exploding, while Apple’s very pricy offering sits on the shelf. That may lock customers into non-Apple solutions.

HomePod first-day sales topped all smart speakers (except Echo Dot)

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Siri display
Siri is an embarrassment for Apple.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s new HomePod is one of the best-selling smart speakers ever, according to new sales data from The NPD Group.

Not only is the HomePod killing it, but Apple’s new AirPods and Beats headphones are dominating the market so well they reportedly account for 44 percent of all dollar sales for headphones in 2017.

Everything you need to know about HomePod

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HomePod news, HomePod reviews and HomePod how-tos
The HomePod may be the best speaker you can buy for under $85,000.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s HomePod arrives in homes today. It’s already sold out online, but if you’re lucky you might still snap one up in an Apple store. And you probably should, because the HomePod looks to be just about the best small speaker you can buy — in terms of musical performance, anyway.

If you want to find out how to set up and get the best of your new HomePod, or if you want to read a bit more before deciding whether to get one, you’re in the right place. Below you’ll find all our HomePod coverage: how-tos, reviews, tips and opinions.

HomePod sounds great, but you’re locked in [Review]

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Apple HomePod volume controls
The HomePod is Apple's first step into the smart speaker arena, but does it emerge victorious?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

There are boatloads of smart speakers out there, but nothing quite like HomePod.

Like many Apple products that came before it, HomePod is here to revolutionize an industry. It’s certainly not first to market, but Cupertino’s plan is to make all HomePod competitors insignificant. The new Apple smart speaker uses cutting-edge technology that delivers outstanding sound quality to do just that.

You can’t buy another speaker of this kind for $349. That price tag is not exactly cheap, but if you love music, HomePod should be at the top of your shopping list.

This hilarious video is the only HomePod review you need to watch

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Erfon Elijah
CultCast host Erfon Elijah goes ears-on with HomePod.
Photo: Erfon Elijah

HomePod may not be the smartest speaker on the market, but it packs some serious skills where it matters the most: sound.

Now that we’ve had a few days to play with HomePod and compare it to competitors like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, we’re absolutely in love. The CultCast host Erfon Elijah went ears-on with HomePod at his podcast command center for one of the funniest reviews you’ll ever watch.

Prepare to laugh your nips off.

Is HomePod love at first listen? It’s complicated.

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HomePod audio quality is great out of the box, and Siri turns out to be a pleasant surprise.
HomePod sounds great out of the box, and Siri turns out to be a pleasant surprise.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

High-quality audio is the signature feature of Apple’s new HomePod. Apple execs brush off “Siri so stupid” concerns by emphasizing the sound quality of the device.

So the big question is: Will the HomePod be love at first listen? I just unwrapped one of the new Apple smart speakers, and my ears now have a little bit of a crush on HomePod.

Why Apple’s HomePod is poised to bomb

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Will Apple's HomePod smart speaker be DOA?

Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

HomePod, the first new Apple product of 2018, is about to arrive. And as a huge Apple fanboy, I couldn’t care less.

Apple’s been hyping its smart speaker ever since unveiling the device last June at the Worldwide Developers Conference. And yet HomePod has failed to really excite fans (except through leaks that gave us early details about the iPhone X). Apple bills HomePod as a powerful speaker that packs Siri to take your listening experience to an all-new level. But with its Feb. 9 release just weeks away, HomePod is looking more like Apple’s next big bomb.

Aggressive smart speaker pricing could hurt HomePod sales

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HomePod
Apple's rivals are figuratively or even literally giving their smart speakers away.
Photo: Apple

Amazon and Google’s aggressive pricing of smart speakers could hurt Apple’s HomePod, claim analysts.

A new report notes that both Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Google Home family of devices were so heavily discounted over the holidays that they likely lost their companies a few dollars per unit. This is in sharp contrast with the kind of pricing that Apple plans for its $349 device, when it goes on sale in early 2018.