Foxconn will join Inventec as a HomePod manufacturer

HomePod’s unexpected delay is expected to help contract manufacturer Foxconn, which is now said to be joining the supply chain  in order to help assemble Apple’s Siri-powered smart speaker for 2018.

DigiTimes reported Tuesday, citing a Chinese-language Apple Daily report, that Foxconn will join HomePod’s supply chain to provide assembly services. Earlier in the week, Apple said it was rescheduling the launch of its $349 smart speaker from December to 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,” the company said in a statement to the press.

Inventec, the current HomePod manufacturer, is seeing decreased shipment performance in the fourth quarter due to the HomePod delay and now expects its 2018 smart device shipments to grow by a single-digit percentage from 2017’s 70 million units.

Inventec is planning to stop accepting orders “with low margins.”

HomePod’s delay is expected to benefit other smart speaker vendors. According to the report, there should be a lot of Echo devices under Christmas trees this year as Amazon is now expected to dominate the smart speaker market during the lucrative holiday shopping season.

Contract manufacturer Compal has already delivered its orders for the Echo Spot and Echo Show devices to Amazon and is currently working with the online retail giant to develop new Echo models for 2018. Taiwanese suppliers recently said that 2018 smart speakers will have additional features such as built-in pico projectors and 3D-sensing features.

A future HomePod might use facial recognition via dedicated 3D-sensing hardware.