Published: Thu, April 12, 2018
Technology | By Christopher Mann

Apple Lowers HomePod Forecasts and Cuts Orders Following Lackluster Sales

Apple Lowers HomePod Forecasts and Cuts Orders Following Lackluster Sales

This is somewhat surprising, as Apple had strong pre-order numbers before the HomePod's launch.

Citing a person familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports that Apple has lowered sales forecasts and cut orders with Inventec, one of the HomePod's manufacturers. But by the time HomePods arrived in stores, sales were tanking, says Slice principal analyst Ken Cassar. Three weeks after the launch, weekly HomePod sales slipped to about 4% of the smart speaker category on average, the market research firm says.

Apple has not commented on the report. But the small, wireless speaker is not that product.

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Google's Home speakers account for 14% of the market, while the Sonos range claims 2%. After debuting to mediocre reviews, the smart speaker's proclivities for damaging wood and stumbling on Siri requests became obvious, compelling Apple to work on fixes that are still in progress.

It's still early days for HomePod - but there's no doubt that it's facing some problems. The HomePod is said to go on sale in December during the holiday shopping season but unfortunately delayed on previous year. Keep in mind that this took place less than two months after Apple finally started shipping the device. Apple has said these functions will be available this year, and the latest iPhone software update in beta with app developers suggests they are in advanced testing.

To be fair, Apple pitched the device not necessarily as a competitor to Amazon's Echo, but rather as a high-end speaker that also delivered Siri integration. Slice reports that during its pre-order weekend, the HomePod grabbed 72% of smart speaker revenue.

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Looking ahead, HomePod sales might eventually see a significant spike amid reports that Apple might release a $150 HomePod later this year. He says Apple will probably sell 7 million HomePods this year and close to 11 million in 2019. Google could sell 18 million Google Homes in 2018 and 32 million next year.

Another issue, HomePod's ability to mark certain wood surfaces with white rings, was discovered soon after the speaker's release. Apple is still planning to add features to the HomePod and sales could improve.

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