Months after the official launch of HomePod at $349 (roughly Rs. 22,800), it is now rumoured that Apple is set to bring a cheaper version. The cheaper HomePod is said to be launched by the end of the year. The latest rumour comes just after it has been reported that Apple had recently lowered sales forecasts and cut orders for the HomePod smart speaker due to its slow market performance.
Apple has reduced monthly HomePod production from 500,000 units a month to nearly 200,000, as reported by China Times. The company has reportedly intimated its production partners, including the Inventec Corp. Alongside the cut in production for the first model, the Chinese news source claims that the Cupertino giant is developing a cheaper HomePod model that will be launched by the end of the year. Price and features of the cheaper HomePod aren’t revealed yet.
The arrival of the cheaper HomePod is quite plausible as the $329 price of its existing model is not competing against the Amazon Echo range and Google Home family that both start at $49 (roughly Rs. 3,190). However, the premium price tag brings a custom-engineered amplifier, an array of seven tweeters, six microphones, and the heart – Apple A8 chip that makes it a smart package. The company has also offered Siri integration to make HomePod a distinct model against Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers.
A Bloomberg story on Thursday reported that Apple had cut some orders with Inventec Corp, one of the major manufacturers behind HomePod. With strong pre-order results, data provided by Bloomberg by Slice Intelligence highlighted that in the last week of January the HomePod captured about a third of the US smart speaker market in unit sales. The Apple model during its first 10 weeks of sales managed to grab 10 percent of the smart speaker market, while Amazon Echo dominated the market with 73 percent share and Google Home took the second spot with 14 percent share.