Apple’s woes continue unabated. Not only are iPhone sales far below initial expectations, but now its HomePod smart speaker is also dramatically underperforming in terms of sales. According to a new report Apple had to slash orders for this device from half-a-million orders a month to only 200,000.
If one converts that into yearly sales, it means the company only expects to sell about 2.4 million of these devices over the next year, instead of the six million it initially projected.
That would put place the HomePod on par with the first year’s sales of the Amazon Echo in 2015, but Apple would undoubtedly not be happy since it expected its big brand name to pull in more sales.
Reports started emerging earlier in April that in spite of the £319 HomePod’s high-tech design, unsold stock was piling up.
Ming-Chi Kuo, KGI Securities’ well-known analyst, also suggested sales figures of between 2.2 and 2.5 million a year, and suggested that Apple might be able to increase sales if it released a cheaper version of the device.
Kuo reportedly said in a note that both the price and Siri were responsible for this failure: “We attribute potentially lacklustre sales to: (1) an uninspiring user experience with the voice assistant function, Siri, compared to competitors; and (2) a high sales price, which could undermine demand despite excellent sound quality.”
Other HomePod users have also complained about the device’s unsatisfactory Siri capabilities and the fact that Apple Music was the only easily available option. The latter might be Apple’s biggest problem with HomePod. If it really wants it to be primarily a music device, then preventing owners from using Siri to play their most beloved Spotify tunes (for example) would seem like a rather underhanded and self-sabotaging mistake. That is, unless, the real reason why it launched the HomePod was to drive Apple Music subscriptions.