The verdict is out; Apple HomePod smart speaker isn’t selling in numbers that its makers had initially hoped for. And the reason is simple, the speaker just isn’t smart enough.
Another reason, of course, is that the HomePod’s rather steep price tag of $349 which is several times more than the competitors. True the HomePod stands for top-notch sound capabilities though that again is not what is expected the most out of a smart speaker.
As an immediate fall out of the above trend, Apple has revised its sales target of the smart speaker system. Similarly, supply orders with manufacturer Inventec Corp. too has been pruned in view of an inventory pile-up. The device though had started out well when launched in February this year.
While pre-orders were strong, the HomePod had also managed to take out a 10 percent market share in a segment dominated by established players like the Amazon Echo or Google Home. While Google Home had 14 percent of the market to itself, it is the Amazon Echo that is sitting atop the perch with a commanding 73 percent market share. HomePod’s share has since dropped to just 4 percent while Apple Store sources have also confirmed they are hardly pushing around 10 units a day.
The reason for the disappointing performance isn’t too hard to guess. The HomePod lacks some of even the basic capabilities that its competitors have long been offering. That includes its ability to perform independently while the HomePod, in contrast, is too dependent on the iPhone. Further, the HomePod currently lacks the ability to pair with other speakers in say another room.
Apple though has stated they are working on the above deficiencies, and the update for the same is known to be in advanced beta stages. Meanwhile, efforts are also on to enhance the AI capabilities of the HomePod as well though this isn’t something that likely will be achieved overnight. Rather, it could be a long drawn effort before Siri – the AI backbone of HomePod smart speaker – comes to be treated with respect as a capable smart assistant.
Another grouse users reported with the HomePod is the latter’s tendency to leave white marks on a wooden surface. To this, Apple said they would try new materials when designing future iterations of the HomePod.
Currently, the HomePod can do some simple tasks like play songs from Apple Music, set up reminders and such. It lacks abilities in the field of home automation, placing orders online and such.