Apple's HomePod Might Already Be Dead

Image: Apple

Reports say that Apple has cut back orders with Inventec, the company that makes the HomePod. While pre-orders were strong, after the initial rush Apple has struggled to keep things moving along. It seems that the market is reacting to the high price and mediocre intelligence of Apple's foray into the world of connected speakers.

I suspect the delays in getting HomePod to the market, which resulted in Apple missing the Christmas sales period as the first HomePods weren't available until February, coupled with features such as stereo pairing and multi-room support being pushed back meant that other options, such as the Amazon Echo and new Sonos:ONE which offer either better voice assistant support, sound and support for multiple music sources, were able to assert a strong market position.

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As a result, Apple Stores are stuck with excess inventory.

Apple doesn't break out sales figures for the HomePod in the same way as they do for some other their other product categories but Slice Intelligence, as reported by Bloomberg, says the HomePod's market share has dropped from 10% to just 4% now that the market is settled.

Can Apple fix this? They can certainly add more functionality to the HomePod. Once they finally release AirPlay 2 they'll have multi-room support. They recently hired John Giannandrea, the architect behind Google Assistant, to get Siri back on track and supporting services other than Apple Music is possible if they are prepared to move away from their walled garden approach.

So, in terms of matching their competition's functionality, they can fix things.

But the price tag, with the HomePod costing $499 - or over four times some of their competition - probably means the HomePod is only for the fan-boys. And whether that's enough of a market for Apple will answer the question just as it did for the iPod HiFi which didn't even survive to its second birthday.


Comments

    It's no surprise that Apple's Homepod is dead.

    It joins the tech graveyard that includes the Apple Pippin, the Newton, and Windows Phone.

    But what can you do with an orphaned Homepod, apart from use it as a doorstop? It won't play rival music services. You can't use it as a Bluetooth speaker (it has no Bluetooth). It doesn't even have a mini-jack input. Microsoft once held a mock funeral for the iPhone. Maybe we can hire them to hold a funeral service for the Homepod.

    I’ll take the opposite side of the bet on this one.

    Apple have invested a lot of time, money and resources on the HomePod. I can’t see them abandoning it on a whim. Their market timing and Siri integration has been poor but the standalone speaker is an excellent product. The improvement of Siri is a must have across all apple products and I have no doubt considerable resources will be thrown in to fix it. Once Siri is fixed, the HomePod will become a market leader.

    It’s an awesome speaker, but it doesn’t work well as a speaker unless you use Apple Music. Otherwise, it’s absolutely useless.

    Until Siri gets smarter it’s pointless, but I doubt most people have a real use for Google Home or Alexa. We have a Google Home and all we use it for is to play music for the dog while we’re out.

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