It’s safe to say that the HomePod speakers haven’t been a success as Apple would have hoped for. Reasons behind this less than stellar reaction range from Siri to the high price tag. Now, noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI claims that a cheaper HomePod is in the pipeline.
According to Kuo, HomePod shipments have been way below market expectations, with Apple said to be selling fewer than 10 speakers a day in some retail stores. As per estimates, Apple will ship around 2-2.5 million HomePod speakers, which is way lower than the market expectations of 5-10 million shipments.
Apple, not surprisingly, is said to be concerned about the numbers. One of the solutions being considered is launching a lower-priced HomePod, Macrumors reports. Kuo expects this new speaker to give a short-term boost to the sales numbers, but isn’t sure just when Apple plans to launch it.
This isn’t the first time reports have surfaced online regarding lower priced Apple HomePod. Currently, the speakers retail at $349 (Rs 22,900 approximately) in the US, and the low-cost speakers are expected to be priced between $150-200 (Rs 9,800-13,000 approximately).
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Apart from the high price tag, another major reason for the HomePod not setting sales charts on fire is Siri. While the reviews have been positive about the speaker itself, they have been largely negative as far as Siri is concerned. Apple’s AI assistant lags far behind the likes of Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa when it comes to overall user experience.
Kuo reiterates that saying, “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.”