Apple Could Launch A Lower-Priced HomePod After Disappointing HomePod Sales
At the Worldwide Developer’s Conference 2017, Apple unveiled its first-ever smart speaker, the Apple HomePod. After a lot of delays, it finally went on sale on the 27th of January. So far, the smart speaker from Apple has been very well-received by critics for its sound quality. However, it appears that quality in performance has not translated into sales for Apple. According to Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at KGI Securities, HomePod shipments “could be far below market expectations” this year.
In a research note, Kuo has said that the market expects HomePod shipments to arrive at 5-10 million units in the 2018 fiscal year. But, according to their forecast, 2 to 2.5 million units of HomePod will be shipped this fiscal year. The major factors that could have impacted the sales of the smart speaker are its design and pricing.
The HomePod retails for US$ 349 in the US and Kuo believes this high price could “could undermine demand despite the excellent sound quality.” While the Google Home Max is even pricier at US$ 399, Google also sells the cheaper Google Home Mini and Google Home, which have the same smart qualities albeit a much lower price. This means that Apple might be persuaded into launching an affordable version of its smart speaker, especially since that is what its competitors are doing as well.
Ming-Chi Kuo has said the lower-cost HomePod might be a quick fix for sales but, not a long-term option. He believes Apple needs to improve Siri, support more languages, and make other improvements to its smart speaker to stay competitive in the market. Kuo has often been right in predicting Apple’s products and recent rumours certainly support his claim for a more affordable HomePod. However, whether these predictions will indeed be proven right is yet to be seen.
The Worldwide Developer’s Conference 2018 is just around the corner and like in 2017, Apple could unveil this lower-priced HomePod at WWDC.