It has been more than two years since the last time Apple landed in totally unknown territory, with the arrival of Apple Watch to the pulse of consumers around the world. Now Ma makes its final preparations to make a new move in this direction with the HomePod, which mark its debut in the wireless speaker market.
On the other hand, just as Apple did not invent smart watches, it also did not create the notorious connected speakers this is a relatively consolidated market that already has its own major players, idiosyncrasies and dynamics. Ma has to know all this thoroughly before getting into it if she wants to have any chance of winning it.
That said, this newly published study from Strategy Analytics a good way to look at the wireless speaker market. According to the economic analysis firm, the segment grew by 62% over 2016, with 14 million units sold worldwide. And the main responsible for the jump was, guess what, the Amazon According to the report, Echo speakers accounted for 77% of increased demand.
As a result, the retail giant jumped to market leadership, disrupting a long reign of Only U.S which, in 2014, had more than half of the connected speakers segment. In 2016, approximately 5 million Amazon Echo devices were shipped against about 4 million Sonos devices. Please note that the survey takes into account both smart devices such as Echo or Google Home and traditional wireless speakers such as Sonos, Bose or Harman Kardon solutions.
About HomePod, Strategy Analytics says Ma's upcoming device competes more directly with Sonos devices than with Amazon and Google's solutions even though Apple's product integrates with Siri and the iCloud ecosystem. As an important part of its foundation, HomePod's number one goal is still to deliver maximum sound quality and a good listening experience by placing it in a category closer to the dedicated music speakers.
Let's get back to this one year from now to see how things are going there.