Apple expects to ship 4 million units of its HomePod smart speaker in 2018

Apple expects to ship 4 million units of its HomePod smart speaker in 2018
Apple was originally expected to launch its HomePod smart speaker next month, priced at $349. The combination premium speaker and virtual assistant (in this case, Siri) is now expected to come to market early in 2018. In announcing the delay, Apple said that while it wanted everyone to experience the HomePod, "we need a little more time before it's ready for our customers." 

The smart speaker category was created by Amazon which combined the Alexa virtual assistant with a speaker to create the Amazon Echo. The product can report the latest weather forecast, stock prices, sports scores, news headlines, activate smart appliances inside a smart house, order you a pizza, order you a ride, and much more. Over 15 million units have been sold to date. The Apple HomePod is made with a mesh cover and carries a high end speaker with a 4-inch woofer, six microphones and an array of seven tweeters. The device is powered by the same A8 chip used on the Apple iPhone 6. Apple has designed the HomePod to produce a premium sound for streaming music, which is why it is priced higher than Amazon's Echo models

The Apple HomePod is more about streaming quality sound compared to the many tasks that the Amazon Echo can do

The Apple HomePod is more about streaming quality sound compared to the many tasks that the Amazon Echo can do

Bloomberg reported today that "Apple has told suppliers it expects to ship four million HomePods in 2018." Besides the Amazon Echo, other competitors include the Google Home series with Google Assistant, the Microsoft Invoke with Cortana, and upcoming smart speakers from Sony (using Google Assistant) and Samsung (featuring Bixby).

Some are saying that Apple really missed the boat with the HomePod considering that Cupertino was playing around with a prototype of the product back in 2014 before Amazon released the Echo the next year. Once the Echo was released, Apple purchased the device to reverse engineer it, and at one time the Apple HomePod prototype was 3 feet tall.

While Apple did create a product for the audiophiles with the HomePod, the smart speaker cannot do as many things as the Echo can. Requests to open third party apps must go through an iPhone instead of through the cloud, as with the Echo. While the HomePod focuses on music and quality sound, the Echo is about using Alexa as a personal assistant to get tasks done.

Perhaps this is why Apple is taking the HomePod back to the drawing board in an attempt to widen the appeal of the product. For now, the simple approach that Amazon has taken with the Echo has proven to be a winning formula for the company.

source: Bloomberg

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2 Comments

1. Tziggy14

Posts: 622; Member since: Sep 02, 2014

Pretty decent numbers for Apple being a latecomer to an increasely established market. Amazon and Google each have sold around 4-5 million speakers during their first year in the market. Looks like there's room for all competitors to grow.

2. sgodsell

Posts: 6728; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The forcasted numbers seem pretty good. If they can sell 4 million Homepod, then that means Apple can expect to make 1.4 billion dollars. But 4 million seems like a high forcasted number. Remember when Amazon started selling their Amazon Echo, which started at $199. It sold well. However when Amazon started selling their Amazon Echo Dots, then they started to sell boat loads of those devices at $49. The same is true for Google's Home at $139, then when Google started to sell the Home mini's, boat loads of those devices sold for $49. The other thing to take away from this is the value and functionality at $349 for Apple's Homepod. Is it worth it? For instance Amazon Echo's and Google Home's offer you voice controls for home automation at the lowest prices, plus can talk to their respective TV devices (Fire sticks, and Chromecasts). So far therefore is no mention of TV controls for Apple TV's. But most likey Apple will add support for their Apple TV. But Apple TV comes with a remote neither a microphone. If Apple doesn't offer a lower priced version of its Homepod, then it will be more of a niche product.

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