13 April 2018
HomePod started receiving lowered sale forecasts from last month and the newest reports aren’t suggesting anything new. Apple’s first smart speaker seems to have failed in attracting the people and sustaining in the market which is dominated by Google Home and Amazon Echo.
Apple introduced HomePod quite late in the market and touted the audio quality predominantly. Now, in a new research note, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has forecasted that the HomePod shipments “could be far below market expectations” this year. This isn’t different to what we heard from the recent Bloomberg’s report that suggested HomePod couldn’t stand to the expectations of Apple despite being the good audio quality speaker.
In a research note obtained by MacRumors, Kuo wrote,
Our understanding is that the market expects HomePod shipments to arrive at 5-10 million units in the 2018 fiscal year, versus our forecast of only 2.0-2.5 million units.
Kuo believes that these are the pricing and design of the speaker that attribute to the low sales of the product. He said, the HomePod’s high price “could undermine demand excellent sound quality.” He also added that Siri provides an "uninspiring user experience" compared to competitors.
The research note further writes,
It's been six years since Apple introduced Siri to the market, which was way ahead of the firm's major competitors. The massive population of iOS and macOS users is also conducive to the promotion of the voice assistant function. However, we note that for most users worldwide, Siri is not a must-have function, and Apple has not yet become a leading brand in the AI voice assistant market. We also note that HomePod has not added support for new languages in the device since launch, suggesting Apple is facing challenges in AI/voice assistant development spanning the globe; this will cap the shipments momentum of HomePod.
Kuo believes Apple is “mulling” a “low-cost version” of the HomePod that may help short-term shipments. He predicts the suspected low-cost version of HomePod will only provide a short-term boost to sales if the product materializes someday.
Apple HomePod with an improved Siri could pick the pace up and compete against its rivals.