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HomePod delay. Apple to miss out on smart speakers sales this Christmas?

HomePod delay.  Apple to miss out on smart speakers sales this Christmas?

We’ve been pretty keen to see the full force of Apple’s new HomePod smart speakers since the reveal mid-year, but it looks like we are going to be waiting until the new year to experience them.

An Apple spokewoman said “We need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers”.

HomePod delay, are Google & Amazon to benefit?

This of course means that Apple will miss out on a huge amount of Christmas sales that would have come from the availability of the HomePod in their stated release date of December.

It looks like Google and Amazon get to reap the rewards in this category financially for this year.



We have seen mixed emotions about Apple’s new smart speakers. Here’s our first glimpse.  Sure, the 360-degree sound, Siri integration and clean aesthetics make it “sound” and look good, but the price of the HomePod has been a huge talking point when compared to Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

We found that the price could possibly be justified because of the sound quality, and that the HomePod was designed as a new music centre for your home. The price we’re talking about, is of course $350USD (500AUD, 250GBP) – Which is clearly not cheap, but then again, have we ever considered any Apple product cheap? We’re already too deep in love with Apple to even care about the price!

The fact that Apple have pushed back their release date for the HomePod means that Google and Amazon are free to indulge in the huge amount of sales they will experience over this holiday season. As voice, as a technology is becoming more and more popular, and will surely be the go-to search method (and many other things) in the years to come.   Apple might be hurt quite bad from missing out on these Christmas sales.  Although we will not know any figures until we’ve all indulged in so much food, drank plenty of bubbles and celebrated time with family and move into the new year.

HomePod delay, will Apple recoup?

One thing that may help Apple recoup some possible losses in missing out on Christmas sales would be the HomePod’s functions with additional HomePod’s in the home.  We all know there are many of Apple fanatics who will buy multiple HomePod’s.

At the end of the day, if an Apple enthusiasts, or even just a smart speaker enthusiasts really has their heart set out on an Apple.

Apple HomePod – Sound & Music Quality Better Than Google Home, Amazon Alexa?

Now, we can’t give you a good review on the sound and music quality of Apple’s answer to Google and Amazon – The Apple HomePod. That is still to come, be rest assured!

But, for now, we will cover what we can with the information we have gathered thus far.

We have to presume that the HomePod will have fantastic music and sound quality, because in all fairness, the price for the HomePod certainly doesn’t add up just yet.

Apple HomePod Spatial Awareness

The first thing we’ll go through is the smart technology that allows the Apple HomePod to “sense where in the room it’s playing” – Apple have said that the HomePod senses where it has been placed in any given room, and automatically analyses the acoustics, adjusts sounds based on the location and “steers the music in the optimal direction”

Apparently, if you’re placing this Apple HomePod in a corner of a room, you won’t get that ugly tinny sound bouncing off two walls – It will instead adjust the several tweeters to adapt to its surroundings and play the best acoustics it possibly can.

Apple’s HomePod is able to detect the centre vocals and use beam forming to direct them. It uses the information it’s given by the A8 chip inside to precisely detect how to play music with the most optimal settings. It can detect something called direct energy to best make instrumentation as good as it can. The direct energy also helps with ambient audio (backing vocals and reverb), giving a fantastic boost that provides a rich mix to fill any room.

Two Are Better Than One

If you are excited to hear the Apple HomePod play your favourite tracks with its smart ability to adjust the acoustics to suit where it has been placed in any room, you should be excited to hear two of them (we don’t expect the average consumer to do this, as it will set you back a cool $700USD or $1000AUD)

But, if you wish to add another HomePod to your collection, and place it in the same room as your other one, you’re bound to hear a far greater music experience.

Not to forget, that with AirPlay 2, when you add multiple HomePod’s to different rooms of the house/office, the speakers can communicate with each other so you can play your favorite tunes throughout the whole house (or office, to liven it up a bit)

Now for the original question?

If you remember the title of this article asked, “Is the Apple HomePod’s music/sound quality better than Amazon Alexa/Google Home?” – The short answer to this is yes.

As both Alexa and Home are fantastic (and likely better home assistants than Siri), they are not purpose built for music and sound quality. Of course they both play a decent quality, but not the quality you’d expect after spending a few hundred dollars on a sound system type quality. This is where you see the price difference for these with Amazon’s Alexa fetching for about $229AUD and Google Home for $199AUD.

We hope that Apple’s promises of a superior music quality that will “blow us away”, as CEO Tim Cook said, are true, but we will wait, like the many other millions of Apple fans waiting to listen.

Apple HomePod – Is this Apple’s Answer to Google and Amazon?

With the latest release of the Apple iPhone x, the spotlight has been on Apple.  It’s a huge step forward for Apple, as well as a huge step forward in the home music, and at last, the home assistant category. The Apple HomePod, released in December will be priced at $350USD.

Although the HomePod has not been released to us just yet, it looks pretty great if we go by the keynote speech in June of this year. I, for one, am very excited for this release!

It’s About The MUSIC

Apple have promised a “powerful speaker that sounds amazing and adapts to wherever it’s playing” – And we have been waiting for an all-in-one powerful speaker, assistant and home control device for a little while now. Of course we’ve seen the Amazon Alexa/Echo, as well as Google Home, but this interaction is all through the familiar Siri voice interaction.

But what’s a speaker if it doesn’t have good bass? (Apparently) we have nothing to fear with this 4-inch high-excursion woofer. We haven’t heard the quality in person just yet, but we will be straight on it as soon as we get our chance. Apple CEO Tim Cook has been quoted saying that the Apple HomePod audio quality will “blow people away” – So that’s something to look forward to.

The Apple HomePod – Aesthetically Beautiful

Apple have designed the HomePod very well on first appearance. It’s very compact, and just under 7 inches tall, and 2.5kg. The HomePod boasts a seven-tweeter array towards the bottom of the device for superior mids, highs and sound control (no matter the placement of the HomePod).

To make sure Siri can hear you, even with loud music playing, Apple have designed the HomePod with a six-microphone array, which for your security purposes, is encrypted and only activated after the “Hey Siri” command.

This is all inside a beautiful mesh fabric designed for the best aesthetics and acoustic performance. Available in two colours: White, and Space Grey.

Apple Intelligence

What looks to set this apart from competitors might be its brain – The Apple designed A8 chip, which controls how the woofer works in conjunction with its surroundings, including the ability to “beamform” so the microphone can hear you over the music. Of course we can’t forget all the features this chip allows Siri to control – These will be discussed in future articles.

Apple’s HomePod – Full of Features

There is much to discuss on the features of the new Apple HomePod including:

  • Spatial awareness
  • Multiple room functions (including AirPlay 2)
  • Music Intelligence
  • Siri commands (inc. timers, clocks, measurements, news, weather, etc) and,
  • Smart Home commands
    See the official info here from Apple

We are excited to follow this article with many detailing the above features of Apple’s HomePod. Consider this article, much like Apple’s keynote in June a bit of a teaser for what’s to come.

Let us know your initial thoughts on Apple’s HomePod.  Will you be ordering this December?

iPhone sales struggle as Apple posts first quarterly sales decline since 2003

With how well Apple has been doing in recent years, most expected the first quarter of 2016 to be another success. After all, Apple stock has continued to grow for years now and they continue to dominate the smartphone and tablet market. Unfortunately, the first quarter of 2016 was not kind to Apple.

According to Apple’s quarterly report released this week, the first quarter revenue for 2016 was $50.55 billion, which is down by 13% from their $58 billion quarter last year. Not only that, but profit was down as well–Apple reported a profit of $10.52 billion compared with $13.57 billion the previous quarter.

In addition to this, Apple reported that iPhone sales were just 51.19 million for Q1 2016. This represents a significant drop from the 61.17 million units sold last quarter. iPad sales were down for the ninth straight quarter as well. The Apple Watch generated $6 billion in sales during its first year, which might seem significant–except it’s just a drop in the bucket when compared to the company’s $233 billion revenue overall for last year. Sales for the Mac line of computers were down, too.

Given the sharp sales decline across the board, some may assume that Apple is in bad shape. That’s not really the case, though. Apple currently is said to have cash on hand of over $200 billion. They have announced plans to return roughly $250 billion to shareholders by April 2018. They will also be buying back roughly $175 billion in stocks.

Both Apple’s cash on hand and buyback program point to the company continuing to be very financially secure. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook told Wall Street Journal this week that it was “a very challenging quarter,” but that Apple is not in decline.

I am inclined to agree with Cook’s assessment of the news. With how hot Apple’s iPhone has been since debuting in 2007, slowed growth was inevitable. Factor in that Apple’s current iPhone is so good that upgrading yearly is no longer absolutely necessary, and it’s easy to see why demand for new iPhones might be down. Other manufacturers are dealing with the same problem of slowed growth in the smartphone and tablet market, as well.

What will be telling is Apple’s revenue and profit for the remaining 2016 quarters. Continued sharp decline will not bode well for the company. At this point, though, there’s nothing to be worried about.

Apple releases gorgeous Rose Gold MacBook with better battery and faster processor

Finally, Rose Gold fans can rejoice. When Apple released the first 12″ MacBook last year, it was met with a lot of controversy. Users disliked its single USB-C port and slower processor, as compared with the MacBook Pro, of course. Still, the unit appears to have been a success, which is why it’s no surprise that Apple has announced a new 12″ MacBook.

According Geekbench, the speed of the processor is 20% better than the original 2015 MacBook model. This is a very respectable speed improvement and one that is sure to satisfy at least some of the critics.

Rose Gold MacBook

In addition to this, the disk-write speeds are considerably better–estimated to be as much as 80-90 faster compared to the 2015 MacBook. As with the processor speed improvement, the disk-write speeds being significantly faster should lead to a smoother, better performing machine.

Apple claims that the 2016 MacBook has a web browsing battery life of 10 hours. This is quite a bit better than the MacBook Pro and on par with the MacBook Air. However, as we’ve seen with many devices, a claim of 10 hours does not mean that the device will actually last that long in between charges.

New! Rose Gold Color

The new 12″ MacBook comes in four color options–gold, silver, space gray, and rose gold. The same Retina display, Force Touch trackpad, USB-C port, and ultra slim design are also found in the 2016 MacBook. New to the mix is a sixth generation Intel dual-core 1.3 GHz processor that is said to have Turbo Boost with speeds up to 3.1 GHz. Faster 1866 MHz memory is here, too.

MacBook in Rose Gold

Apple has the new MacBook on its website as of today and it is set to hit Apple’s retail stores and authorized resellers on 4/20/2016. The unit starts at $1,299 all the way up to $1,599 USD depending on the configuration chosen.