Initial sales of Apple's HomePod have underperformed the company's conservative forecasts, leading the company to cut manufacturing orders and lower forecasts, Bloomberg reports. 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. 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. HomePod speaker sits on display during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, US on 5 June, 2017. Three weeks after the launch, sales of the HomePod had dropped to just 4% of the USA smart speaker market. Since arriving at retail, Apple has managed to snag 10 percent of the smart speaker market, which pales in comparison to Amazon's 73 percent marketshare. After debuting to mediocre reviews, the smart speaker's proclivities for damaging wood and stumbling on Siri requests became obvious, compelling Apple to work on fixes that are still in progress.
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Additionally, Apple store workers say that HomePod inventory continues to grow, with some locations selling fewer than ten units each day. According to the report, Apple is "now working to rectify [that issue] with a new material", though it's unclear whether the company will fix existing units or just quietly introduce the improvement into later production runs.
It's still early days for HomePod - but there's no doubt that it's facing some problems. Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster told Bloomberg that he expects Apple to sell 7 million HomePods in 2018 and 11 million next year. Google, on the other hand, will likely sell 18 million Home speakers in 2018 and 32 million in 2019.
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To be fair, Apple pitched the device not necessarily as a competitor to Amazon's Echo, but rather as a high-end speaker that also delivered Siri integration.
To make matters worse, the device missed its December release date, meaning the HomePod wasn't available during the pivotal holiday shopping season when smart speakers were among the most sought-after products.
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