Apple’s premium smart speaker, the HomePod, is off to a disappointing start for Cupertino. Following strong pre-order numbers, Apple is reportedly facing problems with selling the HomePod.
Bloomberg reported on Thursday that the company is selling less than 10 units of the product in some of its stores per day with inventories rapidly piling up in most locations. When the HomePod first went on sale, it grabbed 72% of the revenue in the smart speaker market, but the share of revenue dipped to 19% in February and March, according to analyst firm Slice Intelligence. Gene Munster, a long-time Apple watcher, reportedly told Bloomberg that Apple will sell around 7 million HomePods this year and 11 million in 2019 while Amazon will sell 29 million Echos in 2018 and 39 million in 2019. Google, on the other hand, will likely sell 18 million Home speakers in 2018 and 32 million in 2019.
This isn’t the first time Apple has struggled to get a hot seller for a new product category. The first gen Apple Watch, for example, wasn’t too much of a big hit — but future iterations of the product helped Apple Watch become the leading product in the smartwatch market. In the case of the HomePod, though, the picture might not be as bright.
Apple fumbled the launch of the HomePod, first introduced at WWDC last year. The product was supposed to be released in December just in time for the holidays, but Apple missed the release and delayed the product. 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. Many potential HomePod customers — including myself — are disappointed with the lack of native Spotify support, as well as the lack of multi-room audio support (coming later with a software update). The product did receive raving reviews for its audio quality, however.
Apple is cutting orders of the HomePod with a manufacturer for the time being, but it’ll be interesting to see whether the company continues to push on with the product. Cupertino is, however, expected to introduce a new version of its popular AirPods earbuds, as well as a new, premium over-the-ear headphones under its own brand sometime later this year.