Showing posts with label HomePod. Show all posts

According to the latest data from Strategy Analytics, Apple shipped 1.6 million HomePods in the last quarter, up 45% quarter-on-quarter. Despite this, it's estimated that the worldwide market share of the smart speaker in the holiday quarter was just 4.1%. In opposition, Amazon and Google shipped 13.7 million and 11.5 million units in the previous quarter, the two have a combined market share of 65%.


In terms of ranking, Amazon claimed the top spot with a 35.5% market share & saw 91% QoQ growth, while its rival Google comes in at second place with a market share of 30% and sees a whopping 121% QoQ growth. Nevertheless, Chinese vendor Baidu and Xiaomi positioned at 3rd place and 4th place. In the meantime, Apple was occupying at 5th place, sadly.
Global smart speaker shipments climbed 95% year-over-year in Q4 2018 to reach 38.5 million units and push full-year shipments to more than 86 million. Amazon continues to be the worldwide leader for smart speaker shipments and has managed to grow share for consecutive quarters. Google also had a strong quarter and closed the gap further on Amazon.
Considering its sky-high price tag and that Siri is still not intelligent enough. and the fact that Apple just launched the smart speaker in only 9 countries, HomePod is definitely not going to sell like hotcake. As rumors have suggested, Apple is planning to launch an affordable version to overcome the problem.

Apple's premium smart speaker HomePod has been available for purchase for one year, so how did it do in sales wise. Well, according to the latest research by CIRP, the HomePod only captures about 6% of share in the US smart speaker market, far behind its competitors Google Home and Amazon Echo.



Since CIRP estimates the installed base of smart speakers reached 66 million units during the last quarter, which implies that HomePod sales in the US have totaled around 4 million units. In contrast, Google Home accounts for 24% of the market share, or about 16 million units, while Amazon holds 70% of the market share or about 46 million units.

It's pretty much obvious that HomePod unable to gain more users, consider its sky-high $300 price tag, on the other hand, both Google and Amazon include low-cost smart speakers, the Home Mini, and Echo, for example, both are priced for only $50, that's 6 times cheaper than Apple's HomePod. The fact that Google Assistant and Alexa are way intelligence than Siri also plays a big role in the matter.

After all, Apple has been rumored multiple time to launch a cheaper version of HomePod in the future, and keep in the mind that this report is based in the US, as HomePod also launched in other markets as well, whereas its rivals only sell their products in the country.

Well-noted Apple blogger Gruber discussed the price strategy of Apple TV and HomePod and whether Apple is overpriced for its products in the latest issue of The Talk Show podcast, in which he stated that the Apple TV is actually sold at cost, as for the HomePod smart speakers, he believes that the company sells it at a loss, though it's possible not a very big loss.



According to Gruber, he heard from a reliable source that tells him Apple sells Apple TV at cost, which is $180, and that's essentially what Apple priced the product at. And HomePod too, he says, that Apple sells the smart speaker at a loss, although someone has estimated that it cost $216 to make.
One thing I’ve heard from a reliable little birdie is Apple effectively sells [Apple TV] at cost. Like they really are like $180 a box. And you think, ‘wow, this is amazing, it has an A10 processor, which we know is super fast, and has crazy good graphics.’ I’ve heard the same thing about HomePod too. Like, why is HomePod so much more expensive than these other speakers you can talk to? I have reason to believe Apple actually sells it at a loss. I can’t prove it, I don’t think it’s a big loss.
Gruber also believes that the price of AirPods is also very close to the cost price, although he is not sure and can't prove it. In general, Gruber believes that Apple has not overpriced its products, but rather their products are too good, and that cost too much to make and ultimately leads to higher pricing.

Apple has officially made the HomePod smart speakers available to users in China and Hong Kong today, users can go to Apple.com or Apple Store App to place an order, and can be delivered within one working day. The speaker is available in two colors, white and space gray, for 2,799 yuan. The company's marketing chief Phil Schiller said in a statement about the launch:

We're excited to bring HomePod to our customers in mainland China and Hong Kong markets. We can't wait for them to experience how great it sounds in their home, we think they are going to love it.
Like the mainstream smart speakers on the market, HomePod has an always-on voice assistant and the ability to connect to other devices for smart home controls, but Apple is also concentrating on its differences from other smart speakers. Sound quality is a differentiating factor in HomePod: can create a rich, full and delicate experience for those music lovers.

HomePod matches with Apple Music perfectly, although it don't music streaming service like the QQ Music or Spotify, you can still play songs from third-party apps via AirPlay. Additionally, users can ask Siri to do tasks such as send a text message, control HomeKit devices, or even make a phone call with it, and Apple specifically added the "play bedtime story" command only to the Chinese market.

If your Apple Music subscription is not the Family plan, you won't be able to play different music on your HomePod and iPhone. Previously, individual Apple Music account could able to play different music on HomePod and iPhone, however, Apple says it was a bug in the first place that has been fixed until recently.



Otherwise, if you want to continue playing different music on your HomePod and iPhone, you need to upgrade your Apple Music subscription to the family membership. "An Individual Apple Music membership allows you to stream on a single device at a time; a Family membership allows you or your Family members to stream on up to six devices at a time", according to Apple Music's policy.

Speaking to HomePod, the Siri-enabled smart speaker is finally coming to China and Hong Kong on January 18th, which will be available in white and space gray, and is priced at 2,799 Yuan. Though, Amazon's Echo speakers aren't available for purchase in China, HomePod will still face competitions from various AI speakers from Chinese brands like Xiaomi and LingLong.

“We’re excited to bring HomePod to our customers in mainland China and Hong Kong markets. We can’t wait for them to experience how great it sounds in their home, we think they are going to love it," says Phil Schiller, Apple's marketing chief.

Image Via SoundGuys

With 2019 almost here, it has been quite a year for the Cupertino-based tech giant. This year alone, we saw the HomePod be released, cheaper $329 iPad, Apple moved into their new Apple Park Campus, a number of new Apple Retail Stores were opened to the public, new Macs, a redesigned Apple Watch, new iPhone models, redesigned iPad Pro, and plenty of rumors and leaks. Here's everything we should expect from Apple going into 2019.


Please note that these aren't in any chronological order, or order in which we should expect them to be released. Only Apple can confirm or deny anything, and this is just purely speculation.

New AirPods



Many can argue that the AirPods are the most innovative Apple product in years, and these truly-wireless earbuds and have built quite the fan-following since they were released in late 2016.

It has been long rumored that Apple is planning on updating AirPods sometime in early 2019. Being they haven't been updated since 2016, it has left many customers wishing for wireless charging capabilities, improved audio quality, and different finishes, for almost two years.

According to well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is gearing up to release an upgraded AirPods model that supports Qi-wireless charging sometime in the first quarter of 2019. Furthermore, Kuo expects hands-free “Hey, Siri” functionality, and with the addition of Bluetooth 5.0, longer range, quicker pairing, and improved audio quality.

Kuo goes on to say that we should expect a revised design sometime in 2020.

Cheaper, Smaller HomePod
Image: Apple
Shortly after the release of the HomePod earlier this year, it was rumored that Apple had begun working on a smaller, cheaper version of the HomePod to compete directly with Amazon and Google, who both offer smaller versions of their speakers. It is rumored the smaller HomePod will cost between $150 to $200.

With the current HomePod costing $349, it is a hard sell, despite the excellent sound quality, due to the fact that it only supports Apple Music natively, and requires an Apple device to set up. According to Business Insider, "A $150 speaker that only works with iPhones and Apple Music is much more palatable than one that costs $350."

According to Barclays Analyst Blayne Curtis, we should expect to see the HomePod 'mini' sometime in the Spring of 2019, possibly alongside the AirPods and other products. He says a smaller HomePod will have "broader appeal."

Apple Over-Ear Headphones

Image: Apple / Beats by Dre
At the start of the year, KGI Securities Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had a report stating the Apple has been working on their own branded 'high-end over-ear' headphones. Kuo says these headphones are not to be mistaken for the successor to Beats by Dre, but it's own branded headphones that combine "high-end audio" with the magic of AirPods.

According to 9to5Mac's Benjamin Mayo, "The addition of over-ear headphones to Apple’s lineup would flesh out Apple’s range of audio options, with AirPods optimized for size convenience, HomePod for high-quality home audio and the new over-ear headphones for high-quality sound on the go."

We should expect to see audio quality better than Beats by Dre, an Apple W2 chip from the Apple Watch Series 4, a fresh design compared to Beats, and "Hey, Siri" support like the upcoming AirPods 2.

Apple TV Streaming Service


Image: Apple
According to a report by The Information earlier this year, Apple is expected to launch their TV streaming service sometime in the first half of 2019 in the US first, then to over 100 countries in the following months.

The service will be free to all iOS and Apple TV users and aimed squarely at competitors like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. According to some reports, Apple will not allow the service outside of its so-called walled garden, which may possibly limit the reach of the service, and potentially hinder growth vs. other services.


Apple Austin Campus & Other Expansions

Image: Apple, Current Facility in Austin, Texas, United States.
Earlier this month, Apple announced plans to invest $1 billion in a brand-new campus in Northern region of Austin, Texas, United States. According to the official press release, "Apple has plans to establish new sites in Seattle, San Diego, and Culver City and expand in cities across the United States including Pittsburgh, New York and Boulder, Colorado over the next three years, with the potential for additional expansion elsewhere in the US over time."

The planned Austin campus is less than a mile away from the current Apple Austin Campus. The location is a 133-acre campus that will initially accommodate 5,000 additional employees, with the capacity to grow to 15,000, according to Apple.

The new campus will make Apple the largest private employer in Austin, with jobs ranging from engineering, R&D, operations, finance, sales, and customer support. At 6,200 people, Austin already represents the largest population of Apple employees outside of Cupertino.

According to Apple, the new campus will include 50 acres of preserved open space and, like all Apple facilities worldwide, its workspaces will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy.

WWDC 2019


Image: Apple, Apple CEO Tim Cook at WWDC 2018.
Apple's World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) is typically hosted around the first two weeks in June and spotlight the companies iOS, tvOS, macOS, and watchOS advancements. Apple uses the event to showcase its new software and technologies for software developers at the event and those watching from home via Livestream of the Keynote.

For 2019, we should expect to see iOS 13, watchOS 6, macOS 11 or 10.15, and tvOS. In rare occasions, Apple has released new products during WWDC, but, I do not expect Apple to do so during WWDC 2019.

As far as macOS, we typically learn what the name of the new operating system will be. I have made some predictions on what I want Apple to name it: Sequoia, Sierra Nevada, Redwood, or Big Sur. I prefer Sequoia. I would really love to see a redesign of macOS, similar to my current favorite concept by Álvaro Pabesio, here.

Furthermore, we should see iOS 13, which is said to have the features that Apple ditched in iOS 12 in an effort to focus on reliability and stability. I really hope that we finally see Dark Mode come to iOS in iOS 13. Additionally, welcome improvements to Siri thanks to Apple recently hiring Ex-Google employee John Giannandrea, who is the Senior Vice President of Machine Learning and AI Strategy. 

A long stretch would be native RAW support in the camera app. We should also see significant improvements to Shortcuts, Home, and Safari.

iPhone 11, 11 Max, and 11r

Image: Apple
With Apple updating the iPhone every year, we should expect to see a redesigned iPhone 11, 11 Max, and possibly an update to the cheaper Xr as the 11r.

I hope to see a revised design, one that is not similar to the iPhone X or Xs but still very much an iPhone. Furthermore, we should expect a new A13 chip inside, a slight possibility of 5G support, and improved True-Depth camera systems.

According to many rumors, the next iPhone will feature a Triple Lens Camera System on the rear with advanced 3D sensing for augmented reality capabilities. The first two lenses will be the same as the current model, but the third will act as a 3x optical zoom, a first for iPhone.

We expect Apple to use the new sensors to build upon its ARKit 2. ARKit 2 allows for shared experiences with multiplayer games, persistent augmented reality, extended support for image detection and tracking, and more.

Entry-level 10-inch iPad, and iPad mini 5

Image: Apple
According to Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is working on the successor to the entry-level $329 iPad for 2019. He says the new iPad will be slightly larger, 10'-inches vs. 9.7'-inches. He also says that in order to accommodate a larger display, the new iPad will receive an industrial redesign with slimmers bezels, and look like its larger iPad Pro siblings.

Kuo assures that the new iPad price will not differ from the current $329, as Apple is still wanting this to be an entry-level iPad that is also aimed at education. We hope to see at least an A11 Bionic chip replace the A10 Fusion inside the current model. Furthermore, we hope to see support for the Apple Pencil 2.

Modular Mac Pro and Updated Apple Cinema USB-C Display

Concept Image: Pascal Eggert. Source: MacWorld UK
The current Mac Pro hasn't been updated since 2013. It still has the same internals, specs, and processors, from 2013. Apple forced itself in a corner with the trash-can design due to the fact they realized the Thermal Core of the Mac Pro isn't able to cool modern components, therefore, limiting them in their ability to update it sooner.

Earlier this year, Apple confirmed that it is working on an all-new Mac Pro that will have cutting-edge components, performance, and will be modular to allow creative professionals to upgrade the system as their needs grow over time.

Concept Image: Pascal Eggert. Source: MacWorld UK
Little is currently known of the Mac Pro aside from it having the latest components, Intel Xeon chips, and modular design.

Furthermore, it is rumored that Apple will release a new Apple Cinema Display alongside the Mac Pro that will have either 5K or 8K panel with 10-bit color support that Apple released with OS X El Capitan.

According to Apple's head of marketing Phil Schiller, "As part of doing a new Mac Pro — it is, by definition, a modular system — we will be doing a pro display as well."

Conclusion


2019 is set to be another busy year for Apple. We hope to see many of the products we've been wishing for this year and many advancements in both hardware and software.

Other notable mentions are that we expect Apple to update the Mac line with fresh processors, improvements with macOS 11 or 10.15, and the possibility of a Touch Bar wireless keyboard.

Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster recently tested the voice assistant accuracy of four smart speakers. The four voice assistants are Alexa on Amazon Echo, Siri on HomePod, Google Assistant on Google Home mini, and Microsoft's Cortana. Each speaker were given the same 800 questions and is divided into 5 categories, including local, commerce, navigation, information, and commands. The result was somewhat surprising...



Siri on HomePod correctly answered 74% of the questions. In December last year, HomePod's success rate was only 52.3%, the increase was rather sizable. However, Siri is still lags behind compares to Google Assistant, which has an success rate of 87.9%, while Alexa's correctly answered 72.5% quires, and the last place were taken by Microsoft's Cortana, which only answered 62.3% correctly.

Munster believes that because a series of software updates in recent months have enabled the speaker to make and receive calls, schedule calendar events, set up multiple timers, and search Songs via lyrics, and all these makes HomePod becomes more versatile and assistants become more capable, the analyst will continue testing it to remain exhaustive.

Finally, Munster claims that HomePod and Google Assistant are neck and neck when it comes to queries on local and navigation due to the fact that they both properly uses its own Map data. Yet, Siri on HomePod is limited in comparison to Siri on iPhone, probably because Apple is not positioning it as the "Smart Speaker", but rather a Home speaker with just Siri on board.

As part of the holiday promotion, Apple began offering promo codes to Apple Music subscribers today. So when you purchase HomePod, you can get a £50 discount by enter the code in the checkout section. Currently, only UK users can enjoy the £50 off on HomePod, but Apple likely to expand to more regions.

HomePod brings out the best in Apple Music. To celebrate the holidays, we're giving only Apple Music subscribers £50 off HomePod now through December 16. Claim your special promo code now.
This promotion lasted until December 16. After using the promo code, HomePod will be priced at £269. This promotion is sent by email, which contains a button for "Get Your promo code." Spotify, however, is also offering similar deal, when you subscribe to the music streaming service for the first time, and then sign up for family plan (only uses money from your 3 month trial), you will get a Google Home Mini for free.

Image Via MacRumors

HomePod, Apple's first smart speaker that introduced at WWDC last year, priced at $349, it's indeed the sky-high price that pulls many users away from purchasing the high-end handset. However, the company now offers HomePod with $299 price tag, although it is a refurbished product, but the speaker still received good care of it and functioning like the new one.

Refurbished HomePod is available in both white and space gray for $299, a decent $50 discount off of the regular price. The delivery time will take roughly 2 weeks if you order the smart speaker today. This is definitely a way to buy a like-new HomePod, plus these products are tested, certified, and cleaned before it gets put in the list and comes with AppleCare.

The HomePod is Apple's answer to the Amazon Echo and Google Home, but more centralized on music and sound quality, as it packed with 7 tweeter array and an Apple-designed 4-inch upward-facing woofer for crisp, clear, distortion-free sound even at loud volumes, combined with the powerful A8 chip, making it much more powerful than competing smart speakers.

HomePod integrates with Apple Music, so you can listening to over 50 million songs. It also built-in Siri support to provide news updates, play podcasts, offer weather reports, share traffic information, live sports updates, set reminders, send text messages, set multiple timers, make a phone call, and so much more. Apple is always adding more feature to the HomePod via software.

Image Via stern.de

Amazon has unveils many Echo-enabled speakers at its Seattle headquarter, like the Echo Plus, Echo Dot, Echo Show. The online retailer also announced first Echo device without speakers, Echo Input, as well as Echo Sub the subwoofer, Echo Link Amp the amplifier, and so much more that ranges from Smart Plug and Smart Home appliances.


Firstly, Amazon announced a new Echo Dot that has a brand new mic array, more powerful sound, and increased max volume, all these for $49.99. Echo Plus, a new Echo device, which designed for more advanced uses, it includes more powerful sound, stronger bass, new equalizer to adjust the bass, new temperature sensor, and a smart home hub for controlling smart home products, it cost you 150 bucks. Echo Show is redesigned with a larger HD display, improved stereo sound quality, smart home hub, it is priced at $229.9. All three Echo speakers now available for pre-order today.

The largest online retailer also unveiled Echo device without speakers, Echo Input, which adds Alexa to an external speaker and connects via 3.5 mm audio cable or Bluetooth. So if you have a speaker, just simply plug it, and then you can experience Alexa just for $34.99.

Amazon also gives a first look at Echo Sub, a plug-and-play enhanced subwoofer, once paired with the Echo/Echo Plus lineup, it'll provide a rich boost of bass. In reality, Amazon Echo Sub could even rival Apple's HomePod bass performances, plus it only cost like $130.

For more products that Amazon announced today, head over to Amazon Blog.

Strategy Analytics today released data on smart speaker sales in the second quarter of 2018. Previously, the company claimed that HomePod's smart speaker market share was only 6% in Q2 2018. Today's report shows that though HomePod has lots of space to grow, it become the best-selling smart speaker that cost more than $200.


Today's report counts the shipments of Q2 global smart speakers according to different models. It's worth noting that Google Home mini topped the list with 2.3 million units, accounts for 20% of market share, but Amazon Echo and Echo Dot combined shares were totaled about 30%.

HomePod didn't enter the top five global best-selling smart speakers, but Strategy Analytics reveals some interesting new details. According to David Watkins, the company's director, HomePod's market share in the second quarter of 2018 was only 6%, but its revenue accounted for 16% of the market. Apple's HomePod has 70% of the smart speaker market in $200+ segment.

For Apple, the decent performance of HomePod is a good news, but it may have some impact on Sonos' sales, with the latter's $200-$500 speakers is a direct competitor to HomePod. While Sonos offers a range of products that support AirPlay 2 and Siri, HomePod, obviously, offers a more seamless Siri and Apple ecosystem integration.

In addition to iOS 12, Apple today also released watchOS 5, HomePod software update, and tvOS 12, to all users. For watchOS 5, you can download it through Apple Watch app on your iPhone, then go to General -> Software Update. While tvOS 12 can be installed via Settings app -> System -> Software Update, and HomePods to be automatically updated


WatchOS 5 introduced various new features, including Activity Competitions with your friends, walkie-talkie for easier communicating with each other, auto workout detection, new Podcast app, Siri watch face support for third-party apps, new workout type like hiking and yoga, WebKit support for websites on your wrist, and more!

TvOS 12, on the other hand, brings support for Dolby Atmos, and iTunes will be home to the largest collection of Dolby Atmos-supported movies, and all purchased movies will be upgraded for free when the update release for everyone. It also introduces Zero Sign-on, you don’t need to sign in apps that offered by TV providers.

TvOS 12 also includes new aerial screensavers that were captured from the International Space Station, it’s now easier than ever to autofill passwords from the iPhone to signing into Apple TV apps, as well as the support for Home Control systems like Crestron and Savant.

HomePod, Apple's first smart speaker also getting much smarter, with the new software, HomePod now can place or answer calls, search songs by lyrics, set up multiple times, support for Siri Shortcuts, find your iOS devices quickly by ask Siri to ring, and more. The software update will be installed automatically if your iPhone is running iOS 11.4 and higher. 

Apple released the beta version of HomePod firmware to its employees. The new software would be released with iOS 12 this fall, as the beta version of the HomePod firmware includes many new features, such as the ability to set multiple timers with Siri and make phone calls, they can also use the "Find My iPhone" command. (Via iGengeration)


The current HomePod cannot get the contact data in the user's iPhones, so it is not possible to make a call. However, users can make calls on the iPhone and transfer audio output to HomePod. Similarly, when a call is received, the HomePod will not ring since your iPhone will pick up, and from there, transfer the audio to the HomePod.

In addition to making calls, HomePod can also listen to voice messages and search for call history. Like other Apple operating systems, HomePod OS 12 supports the "Find My iPhone" command, and you can ask Siri to locate your iPhone and ring the iPhone. The upcoming update will also introduce a feature that let the HomePod connect to same WiFi as paired iPhone.

We'll learn more about HomePod in September or October when Apple issues iOS 12, as well as watchOS 5, tvOS 12 and macOS Mojave.

Image Via Macworld

In its latest published support document, Apple said it will host a HomePod live session in its support community on Wednesday, July 25, to give customers a chance of asking Apple support representatives about the smart speakers, like how to enable AirPlay 2, personalize your HomePod, and more. (via MacRumors)


Discover how to make HomePod your own: use AirPlay 2, create a stereo pair, personalize your setup and settings, ask Siri, and more. During this live event, Apple HomePod Specialists will be available to help you get the most from your HomePod.

Specialists will be on hand between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Pacific Time. To join the event, you simply need to visit Apple's official HomePod Community and browse the discussions, sign in your account, then create a post, from there, the Apple Support staff will help with your questions in real time.

Image iMore

In a new report, Bloomberg shed some lights on the future strategy of Apple's audio products. According to the report, Apple will release a high-end third-generation AirPods in 2019, as well as the next-generation HomePod, and over-ear headphones.

Next year's AirPods will support noise cancellation and be water resistant. According to people familiar with the plan, Apple is also working hard to expand the scope of AirPods. Third-generation AirPods will also be more expensive due to more new features. Currently, AirPods is priced at $159.


The AirPods will also match the iPhone product line, offering high-end and low-end versions, and high-end versions will support more features. In addition, Bloomberg says that one of the advanced features may be a new biosensor that supports heart rate monitoring.

Asides from the new AirPods, Apple will also release a new over-ear headphone in 2019. It was originally planned to be released this year but encountered many difficulties. It’s believed the new headphone will be a high-end product that is more expensive than the Beats series.

Finally, the report mentioned the next generation of HomePod. The second generation HomePod will be released early next year. And, Apple plans to reduce its dependence on Inventec and distribute more orders to Foxconn. Inventec is currently a supplier of AirPods and HomePod.

Five months following the official launch of the United State, United Kingdom, and Australia, Apple now officially accepting HomePod orders in France, Germany, as well as Canada.



Still comes in the white and space gray two colors, HomePod prices in France, Germany, and Canada are 349 euros, 349 euros, and 449 Canadian dollars. Users can either choose to order directly through the Apple Store App, Apple.com, or they can choose to go to the retail stores and third-party authorized resellers to purchase it.

Apple recently brought software updates to the smart speaker and added support for Siri in French, German, and Canadian English. Canadian French support will come later this year. HomePod should also enable Stereo Paring and multi-room audio once user updates it to the 11.4 version.

Nevertheless, HomePod has received a lot of queries since its release, and most of the skeptical voices believe HomePod is overpriced. Analysts and supply chain sources have predicted that Apple will develop a cheap version, perhaps a Beats-enabled speaker in a light of hope to use it compete with rivals such as Amazon Echo.

According to iOS developer Guilherme Rambo that although Personal Requests on HomePod currently only work for Messages, Reminders and Notes, it appears that in iOS 11.4 beta 3, the Automatic setup interface now shows Messages, Reminders, Calendar and Notes, meaning the HomePod will gaining Calendar support.


Once iOS 11.4 release to all users, HomePod owners should able to use Siri on their wireless speaker to send and read messages, add reminders, create notes, as well as schedule calendar events. Smart speakers like Amazon Alexa already supported iCloud Calendar interintegration way before HomePod was launched.

Yet, the description below the icons does not indicate Calendar support, still, this can be seen as a pretty interesting indication that Siri on HomePod will support Calendar soon, it also suggests that Apple has listened to customers.

Image Via CNET

According to Bloomberg, Apple's first smart speaker - HomePod apparently didn't meet their sales expectation, leading it to cut orders with suppliers like Inventec in the late March, citing a person who familiar with the matter.

By late March, Apple had lowered sales forecasts and cut some orders with Inventec Corp., one of the manufacturers that builds the HomePod for Apple, according to a person familiar with the matter.


From the Slice Intelligence's data, it shows that HomePod had strong pre-orders and initial sales figures suggested it would sell well and capture a solid portion of the smart speaker market, but those numbers quickly fell by the time the HomePod hit store shelves:

During the HomePod's first 10 weeks of sales, it eked out 10 percent of the smart speaker market, compared with 73 percent for Amazon's Echo devices and 14 percent for the Google Home, according to Slice Intelligence. Three weeks after the launch, weekly HomePod sales slipped to about 4 percent of the smart speaker category on average, the market research firm says.

On the other hand, even though HomePod lacks connectivity with non-Apple devices and features like stereo pairing, as well as its high price tag, it's still on an early stage to call the HomePod a flop. Apple should able to make major improvements to the current-generation HomePod by simply improving Siri, or perhaps eventually supports Spotify.

Image Via Phone Arena

According to Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis who had week-long trip with his team spent to meeting companies in Apple's Asian supply chain. Today, they shared research on iPhones, AirPods, and the sales of Apple's first smartspeaker - HomePod from the trip.

First off, Curtis says Apple will continue to increased the productions of AirPods and fulfills the demand. Barclays forecasts that AirPods shipments will likely approach 30 million units in 2018, which proven that it's a strong seller for Apple despite their $159 price tag.

For the sake of comparison, it's believed the HomePod sales have been "underwhelming" so far. Apple was planned an initial production run of 6-7 million units, but it is not clear how many have sold. A most recent data came from Loup Ventures suggested that 3 percent of smartspeaker owners have a HomePod.

Image Credit CNN Money
Another interesting points made from the research notes that seems corroborated Apple's widely rumored of plans to launch the second-generation of iPhone X, a so-called 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus, and a lower-priced 6.1-inch LCD devices that featured with Face ID but no 3D Touch to keep the lower as possible.

The products that rumored to getting new updates this year including an iPad Pro to debut at WWDC that featured with Face ID, three upcoming 2018 iPhones, cheaper MacBook Air, AirPower, a new-generation of AirPods with "Hey Siri" functionality, a modular Mac Pro, as well as a $200 priced HomePod.

It seems that Apple is expected to launch a handful of new hardware this year, including an iPad Pro to debut at WWDC that featured with Face ID, upcoming 2018 iPhone models, MacBook Air, and HomePod, as reported by Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang along with Taiwan's Economic Daily News.

Image Credit B&H
First of all, the Chinese report says that there will be a speaker made by Apple forecasted to launch in the second half of 2018 for between $150 and $200 in the United States. As of now, the company's first speaker called HomePod, retail for the price of $349, although is more expensive than the Amazon Echo and Google Home for $99 and $129, but it ships the better sound quality.

Another prediction made by the Taiwan media, is that Apple will launch a more affordable MacBook Air in the second quarter of 2018 for $799 - $899, and the price range came from WitsView researcher Yubin Qiu. The current MacBook Air starts at $999.

Image Credit Cult of Mac
Speaking to the iPads, both reports claimed the Cupertino company likely to debut at least one iPad model in second quarter of this year. With EDN saying that Apple is considering to release a cheaper 9.7-inch iPad for $259 in the second quarter of 2018. Meanwhile, Zhang believes revamped iPad Pro to have slimmer bezels and no home button, similar to iPhone X, but to keep 10.5 and 12.9-inch sizes.

Today's report also confirmed a prediction from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, which he expects Apple to launch a mid-range ($700-$800) 6.1-inch iPhone, as it will be continue to use 3GB of RAM but featured with a 3D sensing for Face ID and Animoji, and lacking 3D Touch. 

Apple is rumored to unveil new devices later this month, like the AirPower, a new AirPods charging case, or even a second-generation of iPhone SE. We think the date is clocked on March 21st, a days Spring season kicks off. What products are you expecting to see in this year?
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