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.
Now that Amazon's Echo has been launched locally, we have a full set of premium speakers that can be used as home assistants that can listen to our commands and pander to our beck and call. So, how does it stack up against Google's Home and the Apple HomePod, which hits the stores tomorrow? Let's take a look.Read more
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.