APPLE'S HOMEPOD isn't selling as well as the company had hoped, forcing it to lower sales forecasts and cut orders with suppliers.
Bloomberg reports that Apple last month dropped some orders with Inventec, one of the companies responsible for manufacturing the Siri-powered smart speaker. Citing sources familiar with the matter, the report claims that inventory in retail locations is "piling up", with some Apple stores said to be selling "fewer than 10 HomePods a day."
While Apple saw a brief "spike" during pre-orders in January, the Apple HomePod accounted for just 10 per cent of the smart speaker market in the US between January and March this year, compared with 73 per cent for Amazon's Echo devices and 14 per cent for the Google Home.
Although the HomePod is superior to the likes of Amazon's Echo and Google Home when it comes to sound quality, consumers reportedly haven't warmed to Apple's debut speaker due to its high price-tag, limited functionality, reliance on the iPhone and Apple's Music service, and a lack of Apple-optimised smart home appliances.
Not only that, but the HomePod - at present, at least - doesn't give users the option to pair multiple speakers, suffers from a frustrating setup issue that Apple is yet to fix and is leaving marks on wooden furniture. To rectify the latter issue, Apple is developing a new HomePod speaker made from a less stain-prone material, according to Bloomberg.
The report Apple notes that the HomePod's initial hold-up, which saw it miss its original December release date, has harmed sales as it meant the speaker wasn't available during the "pivotal" holiday season.
Analysts expect sales of the HomePod to improve, though, noting that the Apple Watch faced challenges when it first launched but is now widely-recognised at the best-selling smartwatch globally.
Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster said earlier this year that he expects sales to pick up later in the year. He predicts Apple will sell a total of 7 million HomePods in 2018, with that number set to grow to 10.9 million in 2019. µ
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