The announcement of the HomePod from Apple at last week’s WWDC has brought the usual comparisons with popular Bluetooth speakers and home automation devices like the Amazon Echo. Understandably, to be fair, as it’s positioning by Apple was to compare it to exactly those devices.
This is Apple playing to its strengths. It is a great strategy and one that will surely work. However, I believe the aspirational device that Apple looked to compete with, was one they already sell in their stores, the Naim Audio Mu-So. Specifically, the Qb.
The Qb is a much more expensive device, nearly 1000$ against 350$, but has a pedigree far more respected in the audiophile world than Apple’s ‘hi-fi’ attempts, and I don’t mean that derogatorily. The Qb completely trashes the god-awful noise that emanates from the others’ tin cans, as it should at this price.
We’ll know when Apple gets its sound within competing range of the Naim, when they remove the device from sale from its stores. In the meantime, it would be nice to see Naim support Apple Music – they already have Spotify and Tidal built-in – but that would depend upon Apple licensing the rights. Not something that Apple tends to do, as these things are seen as to their strategic advantage. Not to mention the Siri integration, which is of paramount importance to Apple.
For now, I’m looking forward to listening to one and seeing where its going.