Apple is allegedly not finding the same success with its HomePod in the same way Google and Amazon have both flourished in the smart speaker category with their Home and Echo line of devices, respectively.
According to a Bloomberg report, Apple has asked one of its manufacturing partners to decrease HomePod production.
The report also claims that as a result of poor sales, Apple is planning to develop another HomePod device that's much cheaper than the current model.
Apple Lowering HomePod Orders
A separate report from The China Times supports Bloomberg's claims, stating that Apple has slashed HomePod orders from 500,000 to 200,000 following disappointing sales. Apple Store retailers cited in the Bloomberg report claim that there are "fewer than 10 HomePods" sold per day.
Apple is still expected to sell a whole bunch, though. Loup Ventures cofounder Gene Munster predicts 7 million units sold this year, ballooning to approximately 11 million in 2019. That's a lot of HomePod units but not enough to catch up to Amazon, which Munster predicts to sell 39 million units in the same time frame.
HomePod's Poor Sales Performance Explained
Apple had the opportunity to make the HomePod a product for everybody, but it didn't do that. Instead, the HomePod is basically an extension of Apple's ecosystem: it will not work with an Android phone.
The proprietary limits extend beyond hardware too. Though the device has received acclaim for its exemplary audio performance, it's too locked in terms of features to ever warrant its asking price. For starters, how odd is it for a music-focused device to only support Apple Music? Where's Spotify and other streaming services? Are they coming soon? Are they ever coming? These are questions Apple has failed to give concrete answers to thus far.
There's also the matter of Siri, which, however one looks at it, is far less capable than Google's virtual assistant. It's not perfect, but where Siri stumbles and falls, Assistant succeeds. It's hard to disagree with critics who think of the HomePod as an excellent speaker hampered by its mediocre voice assistant and limiting ecosystem. Poor sales should come as no surprise.
Where the HomePod goes from here is uncertain. Like Amazon, the Cupertino brand could implement apps into the HomePod interface, much like thousands upon thousands of Alexa Skills on Echo devices. Yet Apple never saw it more than an accessory, according to the people involved in the product development, as Bloomberg notes.