The HomePod is not a hit. Of course, that will likely change. Apple’s shown before that it can take an underwhelming product and make it successful over time. It’s just a little difficult to see what can be done with the current HomePod considering there’s nothing special to stand out from Amazon and Google’s smart speakers. If there’s anything that can help, it might be bringing down the price.
Apple, though, doesn’t do price cuts. So instead the company could roll out an entry-level smart speaker with the same core features as the HomePod but without as many cutting-edge components.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that, while there’s not a ‘cheap’ HomePod being actively developed, the company is heavily considering doing so. Just this week, Bloomberg reported that Apple’s HomePod is failing to meet expectations. Unsold inventory is piling app and retail stores can’t seem to sell more than a handful of units daily.
Due to the disappointing sales figures, Apple is believed to have slashed production. Kuo added that Apple could sell around 2.5 million units this year with the majority coming from the first month of availability. Interest in the HomePod has cooled off significantly since.
There may be prototypes of an entry-level HomePod floating around, but nothing has entered manufacturing facilities for mass production. Apple is still thinking about whether or not it should introduce low-cost alternatives to compete against smart speakers like the Echo Dot and Google Home Mini.
The problem for Apple and the HomePod isn’t just its price. Kuo also pointed out that Siri is inferior to other digital assistants, and Alexa working across a vast number of ecosystems is very appealing.
When WWDC 2018 takes place in June, Apple will certainly talk about the HomePod. You should expect a major software update that brings in a bunch of features originally promised for the smart speaker but were delayed.