business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Maybe it's just me, but I sense a rift growing between Apple and me.

Not a big rift. I'm writing this on an aging MacBook Pro, which soon will replaced by a newer MacBook pro. I love my iPhone, iPod and iPad, and even my Apple TV. I'm an Apple guy, and I don't see that changing.

But ... this week, when Apple announced its newest product - the Home Pod, which is designed to compete with the Amazon Echo/Alexa and Google Home systems - I found myself thinking that it didn't seem terribly relevant.

The New York Times notes that the Home Pod "ticks all the Apple-y boxes: It’s very pretty; it’s about twice the price of the Echo; and it has much better sound, including the ability to create a kind of surround sound customized to your room." But while the Home Pod seems like it does a lot of the same things that my Echo does in terms of providing information, controlling smart-home devices and accessing music, it also seems like the Apple ecosystem to which it is tethered is a lot more limited than Amazon's. (It doesn't help that Siri is the name to which the Home Pod responds; Siri has been around for a long time, but I've generally described the Echo/Alexa system as a "Siri that actually works.")

That - in addition to the $349 price tag - just makes the Home Pod seem mildly redundant. And maybe irrelevant.

And then there was something else - while Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the Home Pod at a developers' conference this week, it actually won't ship to consumers until December. That just seems like a long time to wait, if indeed I even wanted one.

I'm willing to be persuaded by Apple that I need the Home Pod. But it is going to take some persuasion, and they're just not there yet.

What they have to do is give me an Eye-Opener.

Then again, maybe it's just me.
KC's View: