Apple Lowers HomePod Forecasts and Cuts Orders Following Lackluster Sales

Apple Lowers HomePod Forecasts and Cuts Orders Following Lackluster Sales

Bloomberg reports that Apple last month dropped some orders with Inventec, one of the companies responsible for manufacturing the Siri-powered smart speaker. Inventory is piling up, according to Apple store workers, who say some locations are selling fewer than 10 HomePods a day.

This isn't the first time Apple has struggled to get a hot seller for a new product category. Over its first ten weeks on sale, HomePod accounted for just 10 percent of the smart speaker market, a figure dwarfed by segment leader Amazon's 73 percent share.

Veteran Apple analyst Shannon Cross says consumers assumed the HomePod would be able to do many of things the Echo and Google Home can do-answering questions, orderings pizzas and much more.

Bloomberg's reporter Gurman reports that "At first, it looked like the HomePod might be a hit".

Apple's CEO will be providing a quarterly summary on May 01, 2018 and perhaps at that time he'll shed some light on HomePod over and above marketing-speak. Instead the HomePod is mostly limited to playing tunes from Apple Music, controlling a limited number of Apple-optimised smart home appliances and sending messages through an iPhone. Slice reports that during its pre-order weekend, the HomePod grabbed 72% of smart speaker revenue.

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Apple is well known for following trends and trying to come up with better, more polished products than other companies' market pioneers, but even by those standards, the HomePod may have been released a little too late to give Amazon's extensive (and mature) Echo family a run for its money. The HomePod is said to go on sale in December during the holiday shopping season but unfortunately delayed on past year. Alphabet is expected to sell 18 million Google Home devices this year and 32 million next year.

While reviews of HomePod's audio quality varied from positive to middling given its high price point, there was near-universal agreement that the speaker's software side was troubled.

Another issue, HomePod's ability to mark certain wood surfaces with white rings, was discovered soon after the speaker's release. Siri remains a major weakness but the poaching of Google's artificial intelligence chief earlier this month could make a difference.

But still, a premium acoustic experience seemingly hasn't spurred a spike in sales for Apple's astonishingly powerful smart speaker.

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