I, like seemingly everyone, am a big fan of these Marques Brownlee (MKBHD) video reviews. Beyond the great production value, and the fact that he seems both very smart and likable, my favorite thing is that he gives it to you pretty straight. This review of the HomePod mini is a great example of that.

And he notes — quite humorously at times — the HomePod mini is… fine. Maybe good for people who are deeply integrated into the Apple ecosystem, but for everyone else, an Amazon Echo or Google Home are going to be better options — they’re cheaper, work with more smart home devices, and, most importantly, have better smart assistants. The HomePod mini does seem to offer better sound, but it’s not going to be better than the HomePod, of course.

So… it’s really an extension device for those very tied into the Apple ecosystem. And that’s fine! I’m one of them! That’s still a large market. And I do like this strategy more than a $350 smart speaker with a suboptimal smart assistant. I just don’t think this is a breakout hit for Apple. And I’m not sure it needs to be, but… it does feel like they dropped a ball in general here. There’s so much more that they could do — and the most trusted tech company especially — in the home, that they just cede to the other guys.

Written by

General Partner @ GV (née Google Ventures). In past lives I wrote at TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and ParisLemon. A man of few words. Except when writing. 🍻

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