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Apple Reportedly Struggling to Move HomePod Units, Inventory ‘Piling Up’

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Initial sales of Apple’s HomePod have underperformed — even measured against the company’s conservative forecasts — leading Apple to cut manufacturing orders and lower forecasts.

Bloomberg on Thursday, citing Apple store workers, reported that the Cupertino tech giant is having trouble getting HomePod units off its shelves. As a result, Apple late last month “lowered sales forecasts and cut some orders” with HomePod manufacturer Inventec Corp., the report notes.

Bloomberg‘s sources also confirmed that during its first 10 weeks on store shelves, Apple was able to capture 10 percent of smart speaker sales. While that wasn’t great and put it behind Amazon’s Echo and Google Home, things have been getting worse. Three weeks after the HomePod launched, it nabbed only 4 percent of sales. That suggests it had a large share in the first three weeks and very little in the ensuing weeks.

Disappointing HomePod sales, though, can more likely be attributed to two factors. For starters, the HomePod — with its $349 sticker price — is far more expensive than both the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Second, and equally as important, is that Siri on the HomePod provides users with a stunted and somewhat frustrating user experience, especially when compared to what users can accomplish on competing devices.

Apple had an opportunity to put the HomePod at the center of a new ecosystem of smart home and other gadgets that aren’t glued to the iPhone. But the small, wireless speaker is not that product. Though the HomePod delivers market-leading audio quality, consumers have discovered it’s heavily dependent on the iPhone.

The report cites revised analyst predictions of 7 million HomePod sales this year, which amounts to roughly a quarter of Amazon’s Echo sales and less than half of Google Home sales. It leaves open the possibility that Apple’s numbers will improve when HomePod’s hardware, software, and pricing issues are addressed.

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  • Alex

    It’s also not available in Canada and many other countries. I’m sure that doesn’t help :/

  • It’s also a shitty product thanks to Apple’s closed ecosystem

  • Ryan

    Shocking. You have 2 major competitors that are each hitting at least 3+ distinct price points and your only offering is sitting at the high end of the scale and the fact that it being a smart speaker was basically a footnote at the unveiling should leave no one surprised about this.

  • Shaf

    Do you have one?

  • CKinTO

    Not surprised – I would think I’m the absolute target market for this as a consumer all-in on Apple ecosystem (iPhone, iPad, MBP), and was waiting on this since last fall when it was announced. Am a Spotify user, but was even thinking of switching to Apple Music for full integration. After reading reviews, I passed, and ended up just getting a Sonos Play 5 for better sound so I could continue with Spotify. Apple really dropped the ball on this release – late to the game overall, a delayed release, and very lackluster in being “smart”.

  • Chad

    I see your point Ryan, but Apple has never been a price competitive company – regardless of the product… If they announce a product, you know its going to be close to the most expensive every time.

  • Felipe

    The problem here is purely price. I use all 3 at home (Alexa, Siri, Google). You’re right when you say Siri falls behind in functionalities but the core functionalities of an assistant are all there.
    The sound quality is superior but it’s a tough sell when you can get the medium sized google home for 150. This should be 299 CAD.

  • Alex

    Ok mr passive aggressive

    You don’t need one in order to have that information, if you know how to read online blogs. It is kind of a shitty product NOW, until they figure out updates.

    Don’t call me android fanboy I have everything Apple but I’m not stupid.

  • Ryan

    My point wasn’t so much that the homepod launched at the price it did, as that it didn’t launch with any cheaper siblings. Quite frankly it’s almost too late for them to create a cheaper smart speaker. By the time they release, Amazon and Google will have a stranglehold on the market.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    Totally agree. They should have swallowed their pride and put Google Assistant on it just like they used to preinstall Google Maps on all iPhones. And Spotify.

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    The iPad was a great value when it first came out – other companies struggled to come out with anything cheaper for a long while. iPod Touch and shuffles were also amazing value for the money. Speaker components are not expensive – they chose a huge profit margin but they didn’t have to.

  • Flash

    Well maybe they should hurry up and release AP2, without it this speaker is pointless.

  • You’re exactly right.
    I have Apple everything, fanboy I suppose. I wanted one, but yeah as you said, once I saw the price in Canadian $ it turned me right off.

  • Sly C

    I don’t understand how everybody seems to ignore Apple’s product roadmap when it comes to v1.0. The first of every Apple product always comes out crippled and at a high price point.

    Remember the first iPhone? It wasn’t even 3G.
    Remember the first iPad? It weighed a ton and was thicker than the Air.
    Remember the first ? Watch? It couldn’t even run apps natively.

    This is the next version of that. They focused on sound while everybody else focused on assistant.

    Apple has been working hard on Siri for years buying up machine learning companies and hiring a bunch of engineers. I think it’s a matter of time until they crack the nut and Siri becomes as capable if not more than it’s competitors while maintaining your privacy.

    There’s nothing wrong with waiting until the product improves as it inevitably will through firmware and v2, v3 etc hardware updates. If there’s one thing you can count on from apple it is annual product updates. Unless you’re waiting for a Mac Mini update.

  • Alex

    That information is relative. Person A or B or C or whatever will likely have different opinions. Imagine that. What is shitty for you might not be for others. It is shitty for YOU because it seems not to have the feature(s) YOU WANT. Fanboy, no. Selfish and shortsighted, yes.

  • jay

    for me it wasnt the price or not able to buy in Canada it is the fact there is no use for it. first dont like that anyone come to the speaker to check my messages. so much about privacy the other big no is it doesnt support spotify and other great apps. siri is still not good in fact it is an assistant that forgot what i did yesterday.

    there is not one reason to buy one.

  • Well, a good reason to buy one would be if you want a simple smart speaker primarily for playing music, you care a lot about audio quality and you don’t care as much about the price.

    I fit two of those things (all I want one for is music and simple tasks and I care a lot about audio quality) but the price holds me back. As for usage though, it would be very useful for me. I know it won’t work for a lot of people, but it could be just right for some.

  • Also, I remember when the first iPods were $800. They were priced too high for the majority of the market, but they still sold since they were innovative devices. This could be similar (in terms of the sound quality innovation).

  • Chad

    Right, but you don’t often see “cheaper siblings” in the Apple ecosystem either…

  • Chad

    There is a difference between value and price… I remember dropping $1000+ on the very first iPad while people were getting the Blackberry tablet for much less. Even the other offerings at the time – from my memory – were cheaper.c

  • Ryan

    I don’t think there’s a single other product in Apple’s lineup that doesn’t have multiple offerings at different price points (maybe Mac Pro if you’re being pedantic).

  • Aleks Oniszczak

    iPad released April 3, 2010, Blackberry Playbook released a whole year later on April 19, 2011 for the exact same price (US$499) but only had a tiny 7″ screen. iPad was a much better value. Nothing compared.

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