Apple was ready to compete in the Smart speaker market with the HomePod, which was anticipated to come out during the Holiday season last year.
Apparently, the company missed out on some of its potential revenue when it missed its launch date. Consumers were presumably left with a choice between Google Assistant and Alexa.
No explanation was given at the time as to why the product missed its initial release schedule, which is somewhat uncharacteristic of the Cupertino-based manufacturer. However, industry insiders have supposedly figured out the cause of the unexpected delay.
The Reason Behind The Delay
Until now, Apple did not release an official statement regarding the unexpected delay of its audio device's release. In fact, the official date of availability is practically still up in the air until now.
In November, a month before its original launch date, a representative from the company claimed the speakers need a little more time to possibly work out all of its nuances.
However, an alleged industry insider revealed that fine-tuning of software and hardware integration was required before the HomePods hit retail shelves.
Shipments Secretly On Its Way
Consumers who held off their purchase to wait for the Siri-powered HomePod will be glad to know that suppliers started to ship the products to Apple. Another insider based in Taiwan, where Apple supplier Inventec is located, confirmed that an initial batch of one million units is on its way.
Analysts forecast another 10 to 12 million smart speakers will ship out before the year ends. Although orders for the device are still on hold, the recent distribution of its "give me the news" function for Siri could mean that an imminent release is possible.
Playing Catch Up
Unlike its rivals, Google and Amazon, the HomePod has a long road ahead to catch up. CES 2018 saw several smart speaker concepts from different brands.
The two aforementioned companies have similarly licensed their voice assistant technology to other manufacturers. Therefore, consumers do not have to limit their choices to whatever the two are offering.
With only one product on the way along with its premium price tag of $349, it would be hard to compete against established and capable options that retail for less.
Nevertheless, sources claim that the Siri-packing smart speaker is marketed as a top-tier audio device. With 7 tweeters, a subwoofer, 6 microphones, and an A8 processor, it can be compared to high-end speakers worth above its price.
According to analysts at GBH insights, the Apple HomePod would be available in the next four to six weeks.