Apple cuts HomePod orders by more than half

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Apple HomePod smart speaker
HomePod sales aren't setting the world on fire.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker isn’t off to the best start in terms of sales. A new report claims that lack of demand for the speakers has resulted in Apple cutting orders from 500,000 units per month to just 200,000.

Extrapolated over the course of a year that would mean that Apple expects to sell around 2.4 million HomePods in 12 months. That would put it on a level with the 2015 first year sales of the Amazon Echo, but would be highly disappointing given the relative maturity of the smart speaker market and Apple’s name recognition.

Reports about weaker-than-expected HomePod sales were reported earlier this month. They claimed that, despite the device’s impressive sound engineering tech, unsold inventory of the $349 speakers are piling up in some Apple Stores.

Renowned Apple analyst KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has suggested that Apple could give disappointing sales a boost by creating a lower cost version of the speaker. Kuo also suggested figures of between 2-2.5 million units per year, in line with today’s report.

In a note obtained by Business Insider, Kuo said that both Siri and price are to blame:

“We attribute potentially lackluster sales to: (1) an uninspiring user experience with the voice assistant function, Siri, compared to competitors; and (2) a high sales price, which could undermine demand despite excellent sound quality.”

Strikes against HomePod

As a smart speaker fan myself, the two biggest strikes against HomePod are its disappointing Siri functionality and the fact that it can only easily play Apple Music.

This second issue may be the biggest problem. If Apple really does intend HomePod to be a music-first device, then stopping users from using Siri to, for instance, play their favorite Spotify songs seems an error. Sure, it may help drive Apple Music subscriptions, but it’s also an underhanded way of doing it.

Ultimately, it seems that Apple may simply not view the smart speaker as being such a major product as companies like Amazon do. Apple views it as an iPhone accessory, while other companies are viewing it as a major product category used for everything from answering queries to controlling the smart home.

Have you bought an Apple HomePod? If so, what are your thoughts after having some time to get to know it? If you haven’t bought one, what has held you back? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Digitimes