Apple’s Secret Plan for HomePod is…
Who are you? What do you need? What do you want to listen to? How do you want to get it? Do your habits and needs change during the day? Do you do some things more than others? How many of these things can be provided to you by a speaker system in your kitchen, living room, workshop, office, or den?
That’s the Apple HomePod
Personalization will be a big part of how Apple evolves its Homepod line over time. Think about it and it’s obvious: Apple’s multiple platforms can already figure out a lot of what you need, and in future this is only going to become more accurate. Add a dose of Apple’s commitment to your privacy, and no one else needs to know what you love.
I think Apple plans to make the Homepod the go-to product for what you need. Like to listen to a radio show at 6pm? It will be there.
Why do I think this?
Not so many people noted this (which is why I’ve thought about it) but NPR officially announced the launch of its NPR One app on Apple TV earlier this month. This isn’t the first we’ve heard about this app, a quick Google and you see it surfaces from time to time, but what’s different is that NPR Chief Digital Officer Tom Hjelm told Variety that the “broadcaster is working closely with Apple to bring public radio to the company’s HomePodsmart speaker.”
That’s not so significant in itself, as NPR content is already available across a huge number of other platforms, but Hjelm’s admission the company plans to work “closely” with Apple suggests a whole selection of other potentials here.
What are these potentials?
I see it this way: Apple invented the PC; reinvented music consumption with iPod; ushered in the true age of mobility with iPhone; has crafted the next-generation computer platform with its regularly improved iPad; is dealing with a bunch of unexpected complexity as it attempts to transform television.
Now, with HomePod, it wants to reinvent radio. It wants to combine contextual intelligence, personalization, music, podcasts, home automation and connected digital services, with more traditional radio.
I don’t work for Apple and have no insight into how it intends to achieve this, but what do you want from 21st Century radio? Because if you can answer that question with a HomePod/iOS solution you can build, then you’d probably better grab yourself some VC funding now, because your Christmas is coming.
Build your own
I quite like ideas around personalized news you can talk to; spoken recipes; the kind of ad-hoc search-based playlists Apple Music can create; intelligently chosen Genius podcast suggestions; or even the ability to surface headline stories and breaking tracks from across multiple sources within your own ever-updated audio feed.
How would you reinvent radio? You have a chance too.