Ming-Chi Kuo Says Apple Considering Lower-Priced HomePod After Potentially Lackluster Sales

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    HomePod shipments "could be far below market expectations" this year, according to reputable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.


    "Our understanding is that the market expects HomePod shipments to arrive at 5-10 million units in the 2018 fiscal year, versus our forecast of only 2.0-2.5 million units," wrote Kuo, in a research note obtained by MacRumors.

    Kuo believes the "major miss" in HomePod shipments could be attributable to the speaker's design and pricing, among other factors.

    For starters, at $349, he said the HomePod's high price "could undermine demand despite excellent sound quality." He added that Siri provides an "uninspiring user experience" compared to competitors, presumably including the Amazon Echo with Alexa and the Google Home with Google Assistant.

    Kuo said the HomePod's potentially lackluster sales highlights "underlying concerns" in Apple's development of artificial intelligence.
    The oft-accurate analyst said Apple is "mulling" a "low-cost version" of the HomePod that may help short-term shipments. However, even if the product materializes, he predicts it will only provide a short-term boost to sales.

    More importantly, Kuo believes Apple needs to improve Siri, support more languages, and make other improvements to the HomePod to stay competitive against Amazon and Google in the smart speaker market. Premium audio quality alone may not be enough for customers to justify dropping $349 on the speaker.

    Kuo's research on potentially lower-than-expected HomePod shipments echoes similar reports from Bloomberg News and the China Times earlier this week. Rumors about a lower-priced HomePod have also surfaced a few times in recent months, with one report suggesting a $150-$200 price in the United States.

    Apple released the HomePod in early February in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, and it also confirmed availability in France and Germany later this spring. AirPlay 2 features such as stereo sound and multi-room audio won't be available until later this year, according to Apple.

    Article Link: Ming-Chi Kuo Says Apple Considering Lower-Priced HomePod After Potentially Lackluster Sales
  2. ButteryScrollin macrumors 6502a

    Jul 29, 2014
    I would buy a HomePod if it would integrate with AppleTV. no more hunting for the remote and holding down the Siri button.
  3. asdavis10 macrumors 6502


    Feb 3, 2008
    HomePod is appropriately priced IF:

    1. Siri gets smarter.
    2. Device is feature complete.
    3. Can be used with third-party streaming services.


    4. People don’t care about Siri’s smarts (or lack thereof) and only use Apple Music.
  4. Andres Cantu macrumors 68030

    Andres Cantu

    May 31, 2015
    Rio Grande Valley in South Texas
  5. jkdsteve macrumors member

    Sep 12, 2006
    Siri is pretty much brain dead for most things but does a great job of playing music but I want to ask Siri to play music from a device to a device etc. This is basic stuff..can't be done currently.

    I wouldn't be averse to a price cut on the current HomePod so I could have two....Apple rarely does that unless there's a product above it though.

    Where's Airplay2 and Stereo Pairing? Another miss by Apple so far...,,chances are they discovered it's harder than they thought, is one of the things SONOS spent a long time perfecting.
  6. JediZenMaster Suspended


    Mar 28, 2010
    I hope not because margins are everything and let’s keep it working with Apple stuff only.

    If you open up HomePod to google music then you mine as well license Mac OS to third party’s.
  7. Namji macrumors 6502a


    Aug 13, 2010
  8. Corrode macrumors 6502a


    Dec 26, 2008
    Calgary, AB
    If they did this AND their multi-room ends up working well, I’ll sell my Sonos and buy a HomePod and three minis. $349 is just too much when you’re buying for the whole house.
  9. JonnyBlaze macrumors regular

    May 5, 2008
  10. ugahairydawgs macrumors 68030


    Jun 10, 2010
    The lower price would have my family buying in. I don't really listen to a ton of music, so all of the Apple Music-centric-ness of it is really lost on me.

    I do use Siri a ton though, so the expense becomes a little more justifiable if they 1.) can iron out the device transition issues 2.) figure out the multi-user awkwardness and 3.) drop the price at least in half.
  11. lobbyist macrumors regular


    Apr 27, 2008
    Montreal, QC
    Honest question from someone who never uses Siri: is it really that bad? I mean is it so bad that it won’t understand basic, everyday commands? What so wrong with it?
  12. sman789 Customer Support


    Dec 25, 2007
    Richmond, VA
    There's too many lower priced alternatives. If Apple comes out with a slick looking HomePod for $100 they could make a killing.
  13. trichardlin macrumors newbie


    Jan 27, 2008
    > Apple Considering Lower-Priced HomePod After Potentially Lackluster Sales

    Uh, we have that already. It's called Amazon Echo and Google Home. Focus on building a better Siri and people will buy more. Apple should never compete on price because that's not why people buy Apple products.
  14. Bacillus, Apr 13, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2018

    Bacillus Suspended


    Jun 25, 2009
    My (negative) valuation of Siri is that Apple should pay us for its use
    Remember, we provide Apple with (collective, anonymized) data that it can legally sell - so we customers are the product !
  15. ApostolisApo macrumors member


    Jul 29, 2015
    but some apologists said that HomePod is like Apple Watch and people can not take just some sales numbers out of context...
  16. PotatoLeekSoup macrumors regular

    May 10, 2015
    The first iPhone price drop was the only time I can recall. I cannot imagine Apple dropping the price on HomePod though. AirPlay 2 will also make this more appealing. Adds stereo sound. Multi-room playback. Multi-device control concurrently. But yeah, Siri is still crappy.
  17. JediZenMaster Suspended


    Mar 28, 2010
    How about them privacy issues though? Let’s look at how Amazon and Apple and Google handle privacy.

    Can’t put a price on that.
  18. NinjaHERO macrumors 6502a


    Aug 29, 2008
    U S of A
    Should have combined it with Apple TV. That would help justify the higher price. And Apple TV is very useful even if you're not totally into the Homepod features. You'd buy the Homepod for AppleTV and learn to love the Pod. Assuming Siri gets better at what she does. lol
  19. jadot macrumors 6502


    Apr 6, 2010
    A smaller $150 'brain' still isn't going to interest consumers if the brain isn't as smart as the competition.
    I'd say that consumers don't want the speaker because of the walled garden approach, and Siri's blatant not-as-smart-as-google/alexa problem.

    Apple are way behind the curve here. Any user can have an equal or better sounding home assistant speaker setup for less money using either google's or amazon's more intelligent AI and hardware that can fit into their current speaker system.

    A cheaper (but still not as cheap as the competition) voice led assistant from Apple, is still a poor quality rival next to say, Alexa and a couple of Sonos Ones.

    There's just no reality distortion field here that is gonna do it for Apple this time.
  20. Kadang macrumors newbie


    Mar 12, 2015
    If the HomePod at least WAS available in my country (Denmark) - I would buy one more.

    I've already bought one during a vacation trip to the UK, and pretty happy with it.

    Excellent music quality, and great sound for my ATV4 - and working with my HUE lights.

    Price was... okay, considered being an apple product.

    Siri is, of course lacking, and I have to speak English to it - otherwise excellent product.

    BUT - Extend the markets, and expand the Siri areas to other countries (and knowledge & AI)

    Siri in danish is working on my iPhone - limited but working in danish compared to US/UK - So why the HomePod can't at least understand some danish - Stupid, limiting decisions.
  21. iapplelove macrumors 601


    Nov 22, 2011
    East Coast USA
    Instead of a “lower priced HomePod” why not just lower the price of the HomePod ?
  22. 69Mustang macrumors 603


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    This is a really bad lukewarm taek. Apple Music is already on Google's platform. iTunes is all over MS' platform. The HomePod is a speaker. If Apple wants it to sell well, it should be accessible to as many devices and ecosystems as possible. If Apple wants it to be an additional binding element in their ecosytem, they can just continue doing as they are now.

    Just so you know, you can Airplay Google Play Music on a HomePod. So there's that.
  23. dwaltwhit macrumors 6502


    Oct 25, 2013
    They might drop the cost $50 but add another device at a lower cost
  24. unobtainium macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2011
    I’m not buying a speaker that doesn’t support Spotify Connect. I don’t like the music discovery options on Apple Music and I’m not willing to switch.
  25. blacktape242 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2010
    Sacramento, CA
    will never happen, and i dont think lowering the price will help.

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