If Apple Never Makes a Cheaper HomePod, it Would be a Major Break from History
In 2001, the iPod was released at $399. Just 9 months later the second ten iPod came out, pushing the original model to $299. By 2003, the 3rd gen iPod started at $299 as well. In 2004, the iPod mini released at $199.
In 2007, the Apple TV launched at $299. The next version (3 years later) dropped all the way down to $99. Even the top-of-the-line Apple TV today is $199.
In 2007, the iPhone launched at $499/599 on contract. A few months later, the 8GB model dropped down to $399, and by 2008 the iPhone 3G sold for $199 on contract.
In 2010, the iPad launched at $499. 2 years later the iPad mini released at $329. Not to mention older iPad models were on sale for less than the original $499 prices.
In 2015, the Apple Watch launched at $349. The next year, the Series 1 launched at $269. Even today, the Series 3 Apple Watch starts at $329.
From a hardware perspective, the HomePod is great: there’s basically nothing Apple needs to do to make this a better speaker. But in terms of positioning in the market and software quality, they have a lot of work to do. Using history as a guide, it seems pretty much guaranteed that Apple will have a revision of the HomePod in the near future that brings the entry price down.
Also looking at each one of these products, it wasn’t until each one dropped in price that they really started to take off. I know many people are happy with the HomePod as it exists today, but I really expect a cheaper ($149-199) model will help expand the HomePod’s reach, and it appears Apple may be thinking the same thing.