“I think people are going to love it. I know they are,” said Cook. “I think they’re going to be blown away by the experience.”
When questioned about why a customer should choose to purchase the HomePod over the Amazon Echo or Google Home, especially considering it’s the most expensive of the three, Cook said Apple’s focus was on creating a “breakthrough speaker” that delivers a high-quality audio experience in the home.
“What we tried to do is build something that is a breakthrough speaker first,” said Cook. “Music is deep in our DNA, dating back to iTunes and iPod. We wanted something that, number one, sounded unbelievable. I think when people listen to it, they’re going to be shocked over the quality of the sound.”
Nevertheless, Cook acknowledged that both Apple and customers want a speaker that does more than simply play music.
“Of course, it does a lot of other things, right, and all of those are important as well, but we wanted a really high-quality audio experience,” said Cook.
“There’s a lot of things you can do with it,” he added. “There’s a lot of things that Siri knows how to do from the phone. We’ll start with a patch of those as [Apple marketing chief] Phil [Schiller] showed today during the keynote, and then you can bet there’s a nice follow-on activity there as well.”
Cook said Apple has been working on the HomePod for “multiple years,” and as usual, it wasn’t focused on being first to the market.
“We didn’t have the first MP3 player. We didn’t have the first smartphone. We didn’t have the first tablet,” he said. “For us, it’s not about being first. It’s about being the best, and giving users an experience that delights them every time. We don’t let that impatience result in shipping something that’s just not great.”
Cook also briefly reflected on today’s iOS 11 announcements, ARKit serving as a “foundation” for Apple’s augmented reality efforts, and why he elected against joining U.S. President Donald Trump’s various councils and committees.
HomePod will be available in December for $349 in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom. It’ll launch in other countries next year.