Apple estimated to build only 500,000 HomePods for December launch

David Ho, president of Taiwanese contract manufacturer Inventec Appliances, suggested during an earnings conference today that a high-profile smart home device his company has received orders for would be faced with constrained launch supply in December.

“We will finally ship the smart home device this year, but its contribution will be fairly limited and hopefully that will improve next year,” he told analysts and reporters.

Though he made didn’t mention HomePod or Apple by name, Fubon Securities analyst Arthur Liao told Japanese outlet Nikkei that Inventec will only ship some 500,000 HomePods this year, pegging the device’s contribution to the company’s revenue at less than one percent.

The situation should improve in 2018, when Inventec is expected to split HomePod orders with its rival Foxconn. Limited supply isn’t a major departure from past Apple launches, including Inventec-built AirPods that only recently started seeing shorter shipping times.

As a matter of fact, Apple itself said that its $349 Siri-driven speaker would see a staggered rollout, hitting the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia in December before gradually rolling out to major international markets in 2018.

Pricing in Australia and the United Kingdom will be announced later this year.

At just under seven inches tall, HomePod can be placed almost anywhere in the home and is available in white and space gray.

The wireless speaker is compatible with iPhone 5s and later, running iOS 11.