Apple started working on the Siri-powered HomePod smart speaker back in 2012, according to a new report. Well, that’s just a year after Siri’s debut on the iPhone 4S.
The report says HomePod was cancelled and revived several times since then.
Two years later, the project got an official codename (B238), and was moved to Valley Green 1 office (near Apple’s headquarters) under Apple’s accessories division.
Apple designers came up with different prototypes for the speaker; one of which was a 3 feet tall model, while another featured a ‘flat panel with a mesh screen on the front.’ The company also considered different color variants for the device initially, but the finished product ended up being black, and white.
Apple even considered selling the HomePod under Beats brand name, however, it scrapped the idea.
Apple’s HomePod was originally designed to be a superior speaker than the likes of JBL, Bose, and Harman Kardon, the report claims. Perhaps that’s why Apple isn’t allowing app ecosystem for HomePod, unlike Amazon’s Echo, which is a standalone product with over thousands of skills (voice-activated apps). HomePod appears to be more of an accessory than a platform, as it is heavily dependent on iPhone than cloud, with Siri being one of the key selling points.
The company did study Amazon Echo when it launched in 2014, but the inferior sound quality couldn’t impress Apple engineers back then, and they went to work on something that sounded better.
Despite the delay in HomePod’s launch, Apple is reportedly expected to sell 4 million HomePod units next year, according to the source. A holiday season without an actual competitor is definitely a good sales time for Amazon (and Google, too).