Apple’s manufacturing partner Inventec has begun shipping the long-awaited HomePod wireless speaker after the accessory missed its original December 2017 launch date.
According to sources who spoke with Taipei Times on Wednesday, Inventec, which also assembles AirPods, is working on a small initial shipment of one million HomePod units.
“The Taiwanese company has begun HomePod shipments,” a source said, adding that the initial shipment “is not large.” Foxconn, the other assembler of HomePods, is not yet shipping the $349 voice-controlled smart speaker.
HomePod shipments this year are expected to reach between 10 million and 12 million units, with Inventec and Foxconn each fulfilling half of the orders, the source said. As the companies in HomePod’s supply chain received a shipment notice from Apple at the beginning of this month, it is thought the artificially intelligent speaker will arrive soon, the second source said.
Unveiled during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June last year, HomePod was originally scheduled to arrive before the end of 2017. In November, however, Apple delayed the gadget into 2018 saying it needed more time before the product was ready for prime time.
HomePod should launch in the US, UK and Australia first before gradually expanding to other markets. The official HomePod webpage was not refreshed at post time with release information beyond vaguely mentioning “early 2018” availability.