There is no doubting that Apple has a strong customer base for its Mac and iOS devices with record sales year on year. But it’s no secret that HomeKit and Siri is trailing behind the likes of Google Home and Alexa in terms of smart home adoption. With some believing that the low price point of an Alexa or Google Home Device being could be partly to blame. So could it be time for Apple to release the HomePod mini to drive its HomeKit market share?
Apple announced the HomePod back in 2017, but they delayed it until 2018. Now we are hitting two years since the HomePod arrived in the shops without a refresh. While the software has evolved, the actual hardware hasn’t. Not only that, the likes of Amazon and Google have released mini versions of its smart speakers and this has helped them forge a lead in the smart home sector.
Then we look at the price, HomePod started at $349, but it has since seen a price cut to $299. Analyst estimates from autumn 2018 suggested Apple just had a six percent slice of the smart speaker market. This may have improved with the recent price drop of the HomePod, but they are still way behind in the smart speaker race.
For the sake of HomeKit
So while a hardware fresh, maybe needed, Apple also needs to release a HomePod mini to help with adoption of its HomeKit platform. While the current HomePod is a decent piece of hardware. Users, even hardcore users like me will not spend £250 on multiple smart speakers around the home.
However, a low-cost HomePod Mini will help users get onboard with HomeKit and drive use of Siri. But it could also combat Amazon and Google selling lower cost smart speakers and taking huge parts of the market. Not only that, promoting the overall ecosystem including HomeKit Secure Video.
Yes, HomeKit has its other challenges and needs more focus by Apple and device makers. But great adoption by users, just like we have seen with Alexa. Would make it easier for Apple and devices makers devote more resources to improving the platform and accessory range.
HomePod Mini the future
Apple has shown it listens to customer feedback about product prices and demonstrated with the iPhone XR and low-cost iPad options. So a HomePod mini priced around £100 would offer something for people to think about. While we would imagine the hardware and quality would be a downgrade on the full size HomePod. It would provide a lower cost of entry with Siri, AirPlay2 and HomeKit support.
This kind of device at this price point would then tempt me into having multiple HomePod’s around my Home. It would also be the present that people would consider at Christmas.
It’s now time for the HomePod mini to arrive and help Apple drive adoption of HomeKit. Which will show to its user base, it is serious about HomeKit? But it may show device manufacturers its worth investing in R&D to develop and launch HomeKit devices.