Questionable report claims Apple has lowered HomePod orders

A report Thursday alleged that HomePod sales have been lackluster thus far.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman speculated that disappointing sales had prompted the Cupertino technology giant to cut orders with the contract manufacturer Inventec last month.

The sensationalized write-up credited to anonymous “people familiar with the matter” and headlined “Apple’s Stumbling HomePod Isn’t the Hot Seller It Wanted” is unsubstantiated—it’s entirely based on supply channel checks and data from Slice Intelligence.

During HomePod’s first 10 weeks of sales, it eked out 10% of the smart speaker market compared with 73% for Amazon’s Echo devices and 14% for Google Home, according to Slice Intelligence. Three weeks after the launch, weekly HomePod sales slipped to about 4% of the smart speaker category on average, the market research firm says.

Inventory is piling up, according to some Apple store workers who told the publication that certain retail locations are selling “fewer than ten HomePods a day” without actually putting the meaningless figure in any kind of context.

According to China Times today, also based on supply chain checks, HomePod’s shipment forecast for the second quarter of this year has been slashed to just 200,000 units per month from a reported 500,000 units per month in the first quarter.

There are a few issues with the Bloomberg story.

First of all, the author did not specify any hard data on HomePod sales and has ignored advice from Apple CEO Tim Cook who on several occasions cautioned bloggers against taking unreliable supply channel data as the basis for determining potential sales of a product.

“I’d stress that even if a particular data point were factual, it would be impossible to accurately interpret the data point as to what it meant for our overall business,” Cook said years ago.

As observed by AppleInsider, HomePod is also being assembled by Apple’s favorite contract manufacturer Foxconn, another important fact the Bloomberg story fails to mention. With orders expected to be split between these two major suppliers, it’s definitely difficult if not virtually impossible to predict inventory levels or retail sales.

In January, for example, a report said Inventec was working on “a small initial shipment of one million units” of the Siri-powered $349 speaker, with Foxconn handling the rest.

As for Slice Intelligence, they track sales receipts from US customers who agree to have their inbox analyzed. Slice isn’t very reliable, like we saw following the Apple Watch debut more than three years ago when it suggested sales were “collapsing” a few weeks into launch.

Is Bloomberg pushing a false narrative of supposedly lackluster HomePod sales, do you think? And have you purchased a HomePod yet? Mine arrived some three weeks ago and I couldn’t be happier with it—to me, it’s one of the best 1.0 Apple products I’ve owned to date.

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