Apple shipped 2.6 million HomePods during all-important holiday quarter

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Apple debuts HomePod in India at its cheapest price yet
HomePod is still a bit player in the smart speaker market.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple sold just 2.6 million HomePods into the retail channel worldwide in the last three months of 2020, a new report claims. While that is up from the 1.6 million units it shipped the same quarter a year earlier, it’s still a fraction of the total shipped by market leader Amazon.

“The price is still very high,” David Watkins, director at Strategy Analytics, told Cult of Mac. “That closes the door to a huge swathe of potential customers.”

These Vizio smart speakers are affordable Sonos alternatives [Deals]

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Vizio Main
These portable speakers sport awesome audio quality and a sleek design perfect for enjoying tunes and shows on the go.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

If you’re on the hunt for a good portable speaker, look no further than this pair from Vizio. Each is a solid, sleek wireless speaker with great features and eye-catching design. Even better, they’re both discounted by more than half, so you can get them for a song.

HomePod will get smarter (and more chill) this fall

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HomePod speaker
HomePod is getting some nifty new features.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple didn’t mention HomePod during yesterday’s iPhone 11 event — but it certainly didn’t forget about it, either.

Following the keynote, Apple quietly updated HomePod’s webpage. In doing so, it added exciting details about improvements being lined up for Apple’s smart speaker this fall.

Amazon’s next Echo could challenge HomePod on audio quality

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Apple debuts HomePod in India at its cheapest price yet
An Amazon Echo for audiophiles? Yes please!
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Amazon’s Echo is annihilating Apple’s HomePod when it comes to smart speaker sales. But Jeff Bezos’ retail giant clearly knows a great idea when it sees one.

According to a new report, Amazon is developing a new Echo device that will measure up more favorably to Apple’s audiophile HomePod.

Apple still struggling to make a sound in Europe’s smart speaker market

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Apple debuts HomePod in India at its cheapest price yet
Google and Amazon continue to lead.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

There’s a new challenger to the smart speaker throne — and, no, it’s not Apple’s HomePod.

According to the latest data from IDC, in Europe Google has overtaken Amazon as the market leader in smart speakers. Google Home devices accounted for 45.1% of shipped smart speakers in the region in Q1. That beats Amazon’s 41.8%. Apple’s HomePod doesn’t even even get a mention.

Smart speaker installed base could top 200 million this year

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HomePod Volume Controls
Perhaps a rising tide of smart speaker sales will help HomePod.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The number of smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo and Apple’s HomePod in use around the world is expected to keep growing strongly for years to come. It could pass 200 million in 2019, and pass 500 million in 2023.

Analysts from Canalys indicate the installed base of these devices is now surpassing the number of smartwatches in use. And smart speakers could even outnumber tablets before the end of 2021, they say.