Citing a person familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports that Apple has lowered sales forecasts and cut orders with Inventec, one of the HomePod's manufacturers. Apple declined to comment. Veteran Apple analyst Shannon Cross says consumers assumed the HomePod would be able to do many of things the Echo and Google Home can do-answering questions, orderings pizzas and much more. If this report's numbers can be believed, Apple's physical stores alone would be on track to sell almost two million HomePods in 2018 before considering online and third-party retail sales - a trickle compared with other Apple products. Now, however, it seems the device isn't selling as well as Apple hoped.
Not helping matters is that the HomePod - due to ongoing delays - wasn't available for purchase during last year's holiday shopping season where smart speakers proved to be incredibly popular with consumers.
For its part, Apple hasn't divulged sales or sales forecasts. The device goes on sale in the month of January and it captured one-third of the smart speaker market as the Slice Intelligence status report said.
Apple is well known for following trends and trying to come up with better, more polished products than other companies' market pioneers, but even by those standards, the HomePod may have been released a little too late to give Amazon's extensive (and mature) Echo family a run for its money. Google Home and Sonos Ones garnered 8% and 5% of revenues, respectively.
High pre-order numbers lead to analysts suggesting the HomePod would sell well, but the delayed February launch meant Apple lost out on the Christmas sales. Amazon, however, is on pace to sell 29 million Echos this year and 39 million in 2019, he told Bloomberg.
Another issue, HomePod's ability to mark certain wood surfaces with white rings, was discovered soon after the speaker's release. The New York Times has stated that "Apple has hired Google's chief of search and artificial intelligence, John Giannandrea, a major coup in its bid to catch up to the artificial intelligence technology of its rivals". Do any of you now own a smart speaker?