APPLE IS REPORTEDLY planning to launch a cheaper, Beats-branded HomePod, amid speculation that its first-gen smart speaker ain't selling too well.
Analyst outfit Strategy Analytics last week claimed that Apple sold just 600,000 HomePods in the first quarter - trailing behind market leaders Amazon and Google, who flogged an estimated four million and 2.4 million AI-equipped speakers during the same three-month period, respectively.
This report arrived just weeks after Bloomberg reported that the company has been forced to lower sales forecasts and cut orders with suppliers, with some Apple stores said to be selling "fewer than 10 HomePods a day."
It's likely that the HomePod's £319 price-tag (along with its, er, lacklustre speech recognition and dustbin-like aesthetics) has played a large part in the speaker's ho-hummer of a launch, so it's perhaps no surprise that the firm is said to be planning a more affordable model.
According to a Taiwanese supply chain source, Apple is mulling a cheaper, Beats-branded version of the HomePod priced at $199 (around £150) in a bid to help it boost its share of the market from just six per cent.
However, 9to5Mac suggests that the somewhat shady source is mixing up a so-called cheaper HomePod with a refreshed Beats product with AirPlay 2, as Apple previously confirmed that its second-gen AirPlay tech would be coming to future Beats products.
"While it could very well be possible that Apple has a cheaper HomePod up its sleeve, it seems unlikely that the device will carry Beats branding," the report notes.
No further specs or details have yet leaked, but it's likely - if legit - that a cheaper Apple HomePod will bring with it a reduced feature set compared to the full-fledged model. µ
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