Apple’s HomePod still isn’t on store shelves, but it looks to be getting a little closer now that Inventec has completed a production order for 1 million units. The small run is a step in the build up to mass production and could be a hint Apple is much closer to releasing its streaming music speaker.
HomePod is Apple’s Siri voice controlled smart speaker that was first shown off in June 2017 at the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference. Apple said it would ship before the end of the year, but that was pushed out to early 2018 to finish product development.
HomePod includes a collection of speakers and microphones so it can adapt to where it’s placed in a room for best sound. It also includes Siri support, although that’s limited primarily to entertainment features, and to-do lists, messaging, and notes. It also requires a paired iPhone or iPad.
Sources speaking with Taipei Times spilled the beans on the initial HomePod shipment.
Foxconn is also building HomePod for Apple. The two companies are expected to ship between 10 million and 12 million units this year.
Getting closer to an actual shipping date is good news for Apple, especially since Amazon’s Alexa voice control platform pushed Siri to the sidelines at this year’s CES in Las Vegas. Apple can’t go toe-to-toe with Amazon in the home voice control space without HomePod shipping, and it already missed the critical holiday buying season window.
HomePod will cost US$349 when it finally ships. Apple seems more interested in competing with Sonos smart speaker systems than the Amazon Echo, so it’ll be interesting to see how that strategy works out—and if HomePod is a success or Apple’s next iPod Hi-Fi debacle.