It looks as if Apple’s HomePod isn’t the roaring success that the company hoped for – if you believe a new report from Bloomberg.
The report features the testimony of ‘people familiar with the matter’, who seem to be part of the supply chain, manufacturing set up and Apple Store staff. But it paints a picture of HomePods piling up in store rooms, orders cut from distributors, and as little as 10 units sold per day in some Apple stores.
Essential reading: Apple HomePod review
Slice Intelligence data also paints a bleak picture. While initial HomePod pre-orders gave Apple an immediate 10% share of the smart speaker market, subsequent data shows that share has slipped to 4% as the charge from Amazon and Google continues. And despite its premium $349 price tag, its only taking a 19% share of smart speaker revenue.
It’s still early days for HomePod – but there’s no doubt that it’s facing some problems. As a premium speaker it’s nearly unrivalled in terms of sound quality but stereo pairing is still missing, with no firm arrival date from Apple.
Bloomberg points to several other missteps from Apple: missing the Christmas smart speaker sales hype and an over reliance on the iPhone. Those may be a key factor. But for our money, it’s a question of mixed messages.
The HomePod has been developed as a high end audio product yet competes in the era of the smart speaker – which is an area it doesn’t excel. Despite its head start, Siri isn’t a match for Google Assistant or Alexa – and the public knows that. That will change of course, and Apple has an incredible history of turning meagre first-gen products into world beaters – but it might just be that in this instance, HomePod has missed its mark.