Apple’s HomePod is too expensive, too limited, too late to market, and few people are buying it

source
Apple / BI

  • Apple has cut manufacturing orders for HomePod.
  • The smart speaker is more expensive than its rivals but has fewer functions.
  • Apple missed the expected Christmas launch date, and now Amazon and Google’s speakers are leaving it in the dust.

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker is too expensive, its functions are too limited, and it launched too late for the Christmas/holiday season, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports, and that’s why few people are buying it.

Some store locations sell as few as 10 HomePod speakers per day, and inventory is piling up, Gurman says. The company has cut some orders it had placed with Inventec Corp., a supplier that makes parts for the HomePod.

It currently commands only 4% of the home smart speaker market, down from a still-modest 10% after launch, according to buying data from Slice Intelligence:

  • First 10 weeks of HomePod sales
  • Amazon Echo: 73%
  • Google Home 14%
  • Apple HomePod: 10%
  • Source: Slice Intelligence

Part of the problem is the price. At $349 or £319, it’s $200 more expensive than its rivals.

And those rivals do more stuff than the HomePod, which is limited to playing songs on Apple Music, sending messages through your iPhone, and controlling a few other Apple devices.

Not helping matters: Apple intended to launch HomePod before Christmas, when it would have made a natural choice for gifts. But it missed the launch date and did not make it to store shelves until February of this year. Gurman again:

“Gene Munster, a co-founder of Loup Ventures and a long-time Apple watcher, expects HomePod sales to pick up in the holiday shopping season. He says Apple will probably sell 7 million HomePods this year and close to 11 million in 2019. By contrast, Munster predicts that Amazon will sell 29 million Echos this year and 39 million in 2019. Alphabet, he estimates, will move 18 million Google Homes in 2018 and about 32 million the following year.”

Of course, it’s early days in the smart speaker business. Apple has a habit of launching new products with modest functions only to later turn them into powerhouses. The original Apple Watch was nonfunctional without an iPhone, for instance, and the people forget how feeble the original iPhone was. Both products now lead their categories.