The spotlight of prognostication is not my thing. My track record for predicting the future falls into the same vein as monkey’s throwing darts. I hit a few targets, but the wall has plenty of dart holes.
Here you go. Apple already owns the home. Why am I making this statement? Numbers. Math. Amazon has sold a few million Echo with Alexa home speaker devices, but most U.S. households already have a handful or more of Apple devices, many of which are capable of similar functionality.
Remember The Alamo
Let me rethink that. The Alamo isn’t a good example because, if memory serves me correctly, most of the good guys died. How about these?
- Remember Apple Store!
- Remember the iPod!
- Remember the iPhone!
- Remember the iPad!
- Remember Watch!
- Remember Apple TV!
- Remember AirPods!
In each case, the market for those devices had started long before Apple’s products hit the streets. Computer retail stores were in decline when the company opened their own Apple Stores. What happened? Apple Stores rule retail in such a way that they dominate malls and shopping areas with foot traffic and sales.
What about music? Portable music players were laughable before Apple introduced iPod in 2001, hot on the heels of Rip. Mix. Burn. and iTunes Music Player. Along came a Windows version and the iTunes Music Store and the rest is history. Apple owned and owns the music space.
The list goes on.
The world was populated with dozens of smartphone models before iPhone in 2007. What do smartphones look like today? Who owns about 90-percent of the entire industry’s profits? The same holds true for the iPad. Microsoft had Windows on tablets many years before iOS made it to iPad. Watch? Samsung and Google had multiple smartwatches before a word from Apple. Who owns that tech industry segment today?
The list goes on.
So, here we are. It’s late 2017 and Amazon owns the home speaker market, Google just launched, and Apple seems to be delayed. Sound familiar? What’s wrong with Apple? Where’s the answer to Echo and Alexa?
My observations are echoed by other tech watchers. There is no home speaker market yet. Echo is a first mover in a growing trend which marries a speaker to a measure of artificial intelligence, but this isn’t much of an industry. Yet. The number of players will increase over the next few years, each with some form of Siri-like or Alexa-like functionality, all tied to speakers, and some better than others, but from sheer numbers– Mac, iPhone, iPad, Watch, Apple TV; all of which use Alexa-like Siri and verbal commands– Apple already owns the home.