Apple’s HomePod speakers have been in development since 2012, so it isn’t necessarily a direct response to Amazon and Google’s own smart speakers. But with news that the speakers are delayed until 2018, is it even possible that Apple could catch up?
Well, it looks like Apple is optimistic about the success of the HomePod. Apparently Apple has told suppliers that they expect to sell 4 million units of the HomePod when it launches next year.
Is 4 million units enough? Analysts at CIRP have estimated that Amazon has sold 15 million units of the Echo speakers since it has gone on sale in 2015, so 4 million for the first year pales in comparison to the Echo’s average of 7.5 million units sold per year. Apple will have to do better than that to catch up in this market.
The HomePod could end up being a bigger hit than Apple expected and could sell more, or it could sell even less than expected. It faces tough competition and many have already chosen their device and won’t buy another. The asking price of $350 makes it less accessible compared to the Echo. I guess we will know in 2018 to find out if Apple has another hit or a miss.