ibusinesslines.com July 23, 2018

Apple cuts orders of HomePod on weak demand

12 April 2018, 04:13 | Justin Tyler

No Echo here: Apple reportedly cut orders for its HomePod smart speaker last month

No Echo here! Apple cuts Home Pod orders after sales prove to be lackluster

According to someone familiar with the matter, in late March Apple cut its forecast of HomePod sales for the year, and reduced its orders for the device from contract manufacturer Inventec. At Apple Stores throughout the country, the HomePod is collecting dust with some locations selling fewer than 10 units a day.

The market is split between the three major competitors: Apple claimed 10 per cent with the HomePod, while Google claimed 14 per cent with the Home.

Similarly, the HomePod's AI-based digital assistant Siri had obvious issues handling common voice requests, which Apple appears to be addressing by ramping up Siri hiring - and adding a collection of mostly awful jokes to give the feature more personality.

According to Bloomberg's sources, Apple has long viewed HomePod as a speaker first and internally viewed the device as an accessory that would work with other Apple products rather than a standalone product.

Formally unveiled back in June 2017, but made available to early adopters just a couple of months ago, the Siri-controlled smart speaker appeared to generate the typical initial excitement around any new iDevice. However, it looks like the company is having issues persuading people to shell out the £320 asking price, with reports of low sales trickling in. That's not all - Apple's HomePod is one of the most limited smart speakers in the market, and it's essentially locked into the Apple ecosystem. That's a serious disincentive, Cross says, when the Apple speaker costs $200 more than than most smart speakers.

Rumors suggest Apple is working on a cheaper HomePod iteration that could launch later this year, better positioning the speaker to take on the likes of Amazon Echo and Google Home. During the opening pre-order weekend, the HomePod grabbed 72 percent of revenue in the smart speaker category. Amazon, however, is the most popular at 73 per cent - at least according to data provided by Slice Intelligence. Google Home and Sonos Ones garnered 8 percent and 5 percent of revenues, respectively. Amazon, however, is on pace to sell 29 million Echos this year and 39 million in 2019, he told Bloomberg.

Apple fumbled the launch of the HomePod, first introduced at WWDC a year ago.

For its part, Apple hasn't divulged sales or sales forecasts. That's the main takeaway from a new report about the company's smart speaker.

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