Do lackluster sales mean HomePod’s doomed? Catch the discussion on The CultCast

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X-ray view of HomePod
Is HomePod nearing its end, or just getting started?
Photo: Apple

This week on The CultCast: HomePod sales are already stumbling — is it doomed? Plus: Face ID could replace passwords on your favorite websites; the death of Touch ID scheduled for this fall; and our hands-on reviews of an $80 tech-packed coffee cup, a beautiful new HomeKit smart lock, and the all-new Mavic Air drone.

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CultCast #331 – Is HomePod already doomed?

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Apple’s Stumbling HomePod Isn’t the Hot Seller Company Wanted

  • Is the HomePod toast?
  • According to some Apple store workers, inventories are piling up and Apple has cut orders with their manufacturer.
  • “At first, it looked like the HomePod might be a hit. Pre-orders were strong, and in the last week of January the device grabbed about a third of the U.S. smart speaker market in unit sales, according to data provided to Bloomberg by Slice Intelligence. But by the time HomePods arrived in stores, sales were tanking, says Slice principal analyst Ken Cassar. “Even when people had the ability to hear these things,” he says, “it still didn’t give Apple another spike.””
  • According to Slice Intelligence: During the HomePod’s first 10 weeks of sales, it eked out 10 percent of the smart speaker market, compared with 73 percent for Amazon’s Echo devices and 14 percent for the Google Home
  • Why aren’t people buying HomePods?

Apple Is the Richest Company, So Where Are the Billionaires?

  • Did you know it wasn’t Apple that made Steve Jobs a billionaire? It was Pixar selling to Disney. /li>
  • Well it seems, as the world’s richest company, Apple would have many billionaires in its ranks. Turns out it doesn’t, and two astute reporters at Bloomberg wondering why.
  • Apple Chairman Art Levinson is the only insider billionaire at Apple, and his Apple stock only accounts for $200 of his fortune.
  • It’s estimated that Tim Cook is only worth 600 million dollars.
  • Steve Jobs sold all but one of his shares when he was ousted from the company.
  • One theory is that large stockholders sold off their shares in 1997 when Apple was on the brink of bankruptcy.
  • Apple is smart with their executive pay, tying significant parts of compensation to company performance.
  • Only corporate insiders or shareholders with stakes exceeding 5 percent are required to report their interests, so it’s possible there are billionaires around.

Face ID could replace passwords on your favorite websites

  • Face ID could become even more useful thanks to a newly launched Web Authentication standard, which could replace regular web passcodes with biometric identification. This is via an API created by the FIDO Alliance and W3C. It allows users to access any online service in a browser through password-free FIDO Authentication.
  • While Apple already allows Face ID to autofill usernames and passcodes on iOS, this could go one step further by replacing the passcode altogether. This would make it a more secure option.
  • The biometric services covered by the API include fingerprint readers, cameras and USB keys.
  • At present, the feature can be used in Mozilla’s Firefox browser, with Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge integration set to follow in the coming months. Opera integration is in the works, too, although sadly there’s no mention of Apple adopting this for Safari.

Death of Touch ID scheduled for this fall

  • All of the 2018 iPhone models will have Face ID, according to an industry analyst.
  • The analyst also indicated that two of the three models coming this fall will have OLED displays. There will be one medium-size and two bigger iPhones, both larger than any before.
  • He’s also expecting a price drop on the iPhone X to $899, with the X Plus costing $999.
  • Could that mean a move to FaceID on the Mac?

Under Review!