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Apple Alexa-Rebuttal Pushed Back to Make It a Competitor

Apple’s much-anticipated HomePod, a voice-controlled smart-speaker, meant to pose Apple’s threat to Amazon’s hugely successful Alexa devices, has had its original December ship-date pushed back a few months to early 2018. For as much publicity and attention Apple has given the new device, it’s interesting that they have decided to wait for its release. Though, perhaps not as surprising when considering the pressure placed on the release by the ferocious market network in which it has to compete.


Tech product releases are tough-enough to successfully carry-out, but with such a big-name giant as Apple, the pressure is on, and they have plenty of critics ready to sink their teeth into any flaw they can come up with to get more hits on their review article pages. With the risk of this media-fallout, Apple has to ensure that they do as much as they can to make sure their product fall well into their markets—making people believe that the product is not only technically sound, but that it will satisfy crucial points for the successful diffusion of innovations through a population as described by Everett Rogers in his work.


Apple’s popularity thrives on the belief that their technologies could be no simpler to use than they have produced it—as depicted in their hyper-minimalistic marketing materials, with which we are all far-too familiar—thus attempting to capture Rogers’s point that “the success of an innovation also depends on its complexity for people to understand and implement” (Easley & Kleinberg, 2010, p. 565). This could perhaps be used as a counter-weight for one of Apple products’ main, fundamental detractors in their innovative market environment: compatibility. The Apple MacIntosh was the first big release for the up-and-comer (relative to its current position), and, as described on page 586 of Easley and Kleinberg’s text, it somewhat magically emerged into its market, despite their point of innovation being based on the principle that the capabilities of their product(s) work only with other Apple products—a fundamentally unheard-of characteristic of an emerging technology looking to break-through into such a competitive and established market. Their now widely-lauded and well thought-out Super Bowl commercial introducing the MacIntosh convinced America that everyone had already familiarized themselves with the technology, and perhaps made it seem as though (eventually-true) this mass population was just on the cusp of adopting this state-of-the-art technology, and that whatever perceived obstacle of compatibility could be overcome by this mass wave of popularity. This commercial may have induced an effect of Rogers’ principle regarding observability for the audience, making the not-even-released product seem as though it had already been adopted by a good mass of the population.


With respect to the release of the HomePod, the same type of collective action sparked upon the release of the MacIntosh should be mimicked—as Apple has done through numerous iterative releases of their exclusive technologies. Risking a disappointing release for the HomePod is simply too much for a closely-watched and depended-upon giant like Apple. Especially while entering into the market of smart speakers that has been almost completely dominated by Amazon’s Alexa, Apple needs an equally and dependably sharp product with added innovative capabilities that will allow the HomePod to compete at its almost quadrupled pricepoint. Waiting until Apple has finished ensuring that their release of the HomePod is able to sufficiently crack into the smart speaker market is understandable, as Apple’s entire strategy for its products since it started captivating such masses of the population has been that it can offer much more ease-of-use for its users than could any competing products.  “We can’t wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple’s breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers,” Apple said in a statement.




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