Apple slashes HomePod orders as sales 'tank'


According to someone familiar with the matter, in late March Apple cut its forecast of HomePod sales for the year, and reduced its orders for the device from contract manufacturer Inventec. Inventory is piling up, according to Apple store workers, who say some locations are selling fewer than 10 HomePods a day. The New York Times has stated that "Apple has hired Google's chief of search and artificial intelligence, John Giannandrea, a major coup in its bid to catch up to the artificial intelligence technology of its rivals".

Bloomberg's sources also confirmed that during its first 10 weeks on store shelves, Apple was able to capture 10 percent of smart speaker sales.

Dilger added: "notably, Bloomberg has consistently been wrong in its portrayal of the future of the tech industry, from its cheerleading of Chromebooks that the enterprise soundly rejected, to bashing Apple Watch sales to its current assault on HomePod".

Not every product Apple rolls out is a big victor.

To make matters worse, the device missed its December release date, meaning the HomePod wasn't available during the pivotal holiday shopping season when smart speakers were among the most sought-after products. That's not all - Apple's HomePod is one of the most limited smart speakers in the market, and it's essentially locked into the Apple ecosystem.

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Apple's premium smart speaker, the HomePod, is off to a disappointing start for Cupertino. Slice reports that during its pre-order weekend, the HomePod grabbed 72% of smart speaker revenue. Google Home and Sonos Ones garnered 8 percent and 5 percent of revenues, respectively.

Originally slated to go on sale in December in time for the lucrative holiday shopping season, HomePod was delayed late past year. Munster predicts Amazon will sell 29 million Echos in 2018 and 39 million in 2019. Alphabet, he estimates, will move 18 million Google Homes in 2018 and about 32 million the following 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.

The HomePod will nearly certainly improve.

Still, Amazon and Google will keep ratcheting up the competition, coming out with regular iterations of their own smart speakers that sound better and do more.