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Smart Home

Tim Cook still thinks HomePod's appeal is music more than AI

Apple's CEO brings it all back to the iPod in a Bloomberg interview.

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How good does HomePod need to sound for $349?

James Martin/CNET

It's already known that, to Apple, its upcoming HomePod smart speaker's biggest feature is that it "rocks the house."

To Apple, that remains the HomePod's biggest strong suit.

In a Bloomberg interview, Apple CEO Tim Cook discussed the HomePod price and its proposition in a smart home landscape against lower-priced options like Google Home and Amazon Echo.

Again, he emphasizes music first, not smart home AI. "We're actually already in the home through the iPhone you take with you everywhere," says Cook in the interview. "The thing that has arguably not gotten a great level of focus is music in the home."

Cook also insists that the HomePod's more expensive price of $349 versus the Echo and Home is justified, because that formula's worked before, going back to the iPod. "If you remember when the iPod was introduced, a lot of people said, "Why would anybody pay $399 for an MP3 player?" 

After listening to the HomePod briefly, at WWDC, it sounded promising. But no new information has emerged as to how HomePod works as a smart speaker, or how it listens while other always-on devices like iPhones or iPads are in the same room.

Cook also re-emphasizes his love of AR in the interview, saying, "I am so excited about it, I just want to yell out and scream."