Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis and his associates returned from a recent tour of Asian firms in Apple’s supply chain, concluding that a more affordable HomePod model is due next year.
Sharing their predictions based on the information they gathered, Barclays analysts wrote in a copy to clients Tuesday, a copy of which was obtained by MacRumors, that a “cheaper HomePod in 2019” should have “broader appeal” without providing specifics.
The report echoes a recent Bloomberg story calling for a new HomePod model in 2019 alongside a higher-end AirPods and a new premium over-ear headphones.
The $349 Siri-driven wireless speaker sold about a Barclays-estimated five million units since it launched in January, prompting the analysts to call HomePod sales underwhelming.
Revered analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously criticized HomePod’s high price that limits its market potential and Siri, which he said provides an “uninspiring user experience” compared to Amazon Echo with Alexa and Google Home with its Assistant.
According to one rumor, a more affordable HomePod may actually be a next-generation Beats speaker with built-in Siri and priced between $149 and $199. In the meantime, Apple continues to improve HomePod by way of software updates.
And thanks to iOS 12 code leaks, we know that new features like phone calling and multiple timers are coming to the speaker next. HomePod is currently available in Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany and Canada.