It looks as if Apple’s highly-anticipated and often-delayed HomePod smart speaker system is just around the corner, with industry sources claiming one of the device’s assemblers, Inventec Corp., has completed an initial shipment of about 1 million units.
According to a new report from the Taipei Times, the initial shipment from Inventec includes around 1 million of the 10-12 million HomePods expected to ship this year. Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, is expected to fulfill half of the orders.
“The Taiwanese company has begun HomePod shipments. However, revenue contribution from the product to Inventec is expected to be limited this quarter, as the initial shipment is not large,” a source in HomePod’s supply chain told the Taipei Times by telephone on the condition of anonymity.
HomePod is Apple’s Siri voice controlled smart speaker that was first shown off in June 2017 at the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference. Apple said it would ship before the end of the year, but that was pushed off to early 2018 to finish product development.
According to the report, the HomePod’s delay is attributable to “fine-tuning of software and hardware integration,” a presumably critical final step for a speaker featuring Apple’s Siri as its voice-controlled AI assistant.
HomePod includes a collection of speakers and microphones so it can adapt to where it’s placed in a room for best sound. It also includes Siri support, although that’s limited primarily to entertainment features, and to-do lists, messaging, and notes. It also requires a paired iPhone or iPad.
HomePod’s slow start has certainly given other manufacturers time to market their own smart speakers. CES 2018 was filled with competing products powered by Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, although we recently reported that the two companies may actually be losing money on their speakers.