Last night, Bloomberg's Apple Observer Mark Gurman reported that HomePod sales have been far below expectations, and Apple has had to cut production as stocks accumulate in the stores Early this morning, China Times followed with a similar story with a very similar message: The HomePod is in trouble.
According to China Times Apple has cut HomePod production from 500,000 units per month in the first quarter to only 200,000 units per month in the second quarter. You should always expect some reduction in production, especially for an Apple product that has been mocked in advance, but this type of drop suggests that Apple miscalculated something.
The obvious question is where Apple went wrong with HomePod. The smart speaker market is already big and growing every month. Some estimates suggest that more than 50 million smart speakers will be sent this year, comparable to the number of smart watches sent in 2017.
The general consensus seems to be that with the HomePod, Apple is charging too much money for a product with very few characteristics. Although the HomePod sounds incredibly good, it lacks some critical features to make it a best-selling wireless speaker, such as the lack of support for multiple rooms or the ability to play music from Spotify or Play Music. As a smart home control, it lacks commands and integrations from third parties compared to Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
Possibly, the solution could be in the way of Apple. The China Times suggests that a new cheaper HomePod could be launched in the fourth quarter of this year, while on the software side, multi-room support and stereo pairing should be enabled within a few months. The only question is whether it is too little, too late for Apple to overthrow Amazon and its market.