How Costly Will the Apple Inc. HomePod Delay Be?
On Friday, Apple Inc. confirmed that the HomePod — the company’s first smart speaker — will be delayed. Instead of arriving in time to capture holiday sales, it won’t be released until 2018. The Apple HomePod delay didn’t have a noticeable effect on AAPL stock, and the company is trying to put a positive spin on it.
However, there’s no avoiding the fact that having the HomePod delayed is a blow for Apple that will impact its holiday quarter and make its battle for smart speaker market share even tougher.
HomePod — Apple’s long-awaited, $349 premium smart speaker — was not going to be released this year. Since its announcement at WWDC 2017, Apple has said the Siri-powered HomePod will arrive on Dec. 1. On Friday, it acknowledged that the HomePod would be delayed, changing its website to read “Available early 2018.”
“We can’t wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple’s breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers. We’ll start shipping in the US, UK and Australia in early 2018.”
With the Apple HomePod delay, Amazon.com, Inc. and Alphabet Inc’s Google — the smart speaker industry leaders — have a big holiday season to rack up more sales. The smart speaker market is expected to be worth over $13 billion by 2024. Last Christmas, Amazon said it sold millions of Echo speakers, nine times as many as the previous year, with two Echo smart speakers being its top-sellers for the entire site. At this point, the Amazon Echo controls 76% of the U.S. smart speaker market, with Google Home snapping up the other 24%.
This year was shaping up to be a true battle, with Amazon and Google both releasing new smart speakers for the holiday season, and the HomePod finally entering the mix after several years of sitting on the sidelines for Apple. But with the HomePod delayed until 2018, Amazon and Google have another holiday season to cement their lead.
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