Hackernoon logoThe HomePod is the new Zune by@vittoriobanfi

The HomePod is the new Zune

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@vittoriobanfiVittorio Banfi

Sorry, Apple

Do you remember the Microsoft Zune? Probably not. The Zune was the Microsoft’s response to the Apple’s iPod. The reason why you don’t remember it’s because the product sucked. Microsoft executives knew it sucked. Users knew is sucked. Journalists knew it sucked.

Look at this baby. Brown
- Steve Jobs about the Zune

There are a lot of reasons why the Zune failed, but the question that interests me is: Why did Microsoft launch it anyway? Microsoft was trying to catch up with Apple in terms of built quality, music quality, music catalog, hardware/software integration, and more. They knew they did not have this stuff ready to compete. But they tried anyway. I think that the psychology behind it is: We don’t want to look like we are being left behind. If we get out something, we can at least pretend that we are not losing this battle.

The irony is that this line of thought is diametrically opposed compared to what Apple was doing back then. Apple would pick only fights it could win. As soon as he got back, Steve Jobs killed OpenDoc, as he knew that he could not compete with Microsoft Office. It was 1997. 4 years later, Apple would release the iPod.

Now, fast forward to today. Apple wants to compete with Amazon’s Echo and Google Home. It is behind technologically — Siri is a far cry compared to Alexa or the Google Assistant. For the first time since 2007, it is behind in terms of apps and ecosystem: Alexa has 10.000 skills, and Siri has none. So Apple decides to try to play on its strengths: Music and design. The Homepod is going to be an high quality smart stereo. Now it’s finally out. And this happens.

Yes, this is really happening

Turns out, the Homepod is releasing some sort of acid that burns the wood and leaves those white circles on your furniture. The Homepod works only with iTunes and Apple Music. The Homepod cannot show you stuff on the AppleTv. The Homepod launched without any ‘skills’ or apps to make it smarter.

(Music sounds great on it, I’m sure)

So why is Apple picking up a fight it can’t possibly win? Heck, they are not even calling it ‘an hobby’, as they used to say for the AppleTv.

Why are they releasing a Zune?

Maybe Apple is now in the same position at Microsoft in 1997: full world-domination denial.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Apple and their products. Maybe this why I’m disappointed, because I care. What do you think?


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