If you’ve followed Apple for any amount of time, you probably know that it’s difficult to score one of the company’s new products shortly after they launch. This does not seem to be the case for Homepod however..
Apple’s first smart home Speaker officially became available for pre-order last Friday, Jan. 26, with a delivery date of Feb. 9. But, as of today (three days later), it seems HomePod is still in stock. Apple’s delivery estimates still show Feb. 9.
That estimated delivery seems to be true for both Apple’s online store, and for a range of random of brick-and-mortar Apple Store devices in the U.S., U.K., and Australia.
Similarly, HomePod pre-orders are still available at Best Buy, whose website also shows a Feb. 9 expected shipping or pickup date.
The available supply of HomePod could suggest a few things.
- Firstly, it could simply hint that Apple has set itself up with an appropriate amount of supply for the new smart speaker — marking the first launch in quite a while with good supply-demand equilibrium. Part of that may be the limited, initial three-country launch.
- But there’s also the possibility that consumers are just not that excited about HomePod, and that Apple overestimated the demand for the device at launch.
HomePod’s delay last year, of course, allowed competitors like Amazon Echo and Google Home to carve out a strong hold on the market. That could have been the device’s undoing, considering how crowded the smart speaker market has become in the last year.
Even beyond Amazon and Google, there are a slew of third-party manufacturers who have released higher-end smart speakers that are compatible with digital assistants already on the market.
Sonos, for example, recently announced a special bundle that includes two Sonos One speakers for $349 — the same exact price as one HomePod. The Sonos One is compatible with Alexa voice integration, which also works with a variety of music streaming services (unlike HomePod, which seems to only support Apple Music).
The smart speaker’s premium price may also put it at a disadvantage. $349 is significantly more expensive than either Amazon Echo or Google Home — as the two tech giants offer smart speakers as cheap as $50.
HomePod may be the best sounding smart speaker on the market when it launches, which could still set it apart. But, unfortunately, that fact alone might not be enough to save it, as many market watchers have predicted. Last week, FX Strategy Managing Director Boris Schlossberg told CNBC that he thinks Apple is making a “big mistake.”
“Nobody is going to buy (HomePod) at the price that they’re putting it out right now because the functionality of those products is just nowhere near as great as it needs to be relative to the price difference,” Schlossberg said.
Schlossberg is, admittedly, an Apple skeptic. But whether or not that “big mistake” turns out to be true remains to be seen.
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