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Has Apple ever missed the smart speaker market?

With recent news that the Apple HomePod smart speaker would not ship before next year, the company is missing the season shopping season. This is a potentially capital decision.

Apple issued a statement saying that it needed "a little more time before [HomePod is] ready for our customers" and that it would be delivered "early 2018." Whether the delay is due to production issues or because Apple needs to improve the functionality of the device is not clear.

What is clear, however, is that there will be millions of other Alexa and Google Home devices in American homes when the paper will not be used. packaging will be installed at the end of December. And this may mean fewer consumers interested in buying the Apple device when it will come out.

Amazon and Google are aggressively discounting their speakers. During the past weekend, you could buy either an Echo Dot or Google Home Mini for $ 29. You could get a second generation Echo or a Google Home for around $ 80.

This update and promotion has apparently generated a lot of sales. Earlier today, Amazon said the Echo item was the best-selling product on the site, which dominated e-commerce over the weekend:

  • Echo Dot and Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote were not only the top-selling Amazon devices, but they were the top-selling products of all manufacturers in all categories on
  • Echo Dot was the best-selling device on Whole Foods Market during the holiday weekend.

While no specific figure has been released, a company executive was quoted in the statement saying that "tens of millions of customers worldwide will use Alexa for prepare the holidays ". Google has not published any business figures

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A recent Bloomberg report argued that the HomePod has limited capabilities and is not really competitive with Google Home or Amazon Echo as a smart home controller or as a standalone assistant. In addition, the device sells for $ 350, a little more expensive than Google Home and Echo – despite audiophile sound quality.

The battle for the smart enclosure market is also a contest to see who will control the smart home. Data show that after obtaining a smart speaker, consumers are more inclined to buy other accessories for the smart home. Thus, the unavailability of HomePod has broader implications for Apple's smart home strategy and the company's ability to compete there as well.

Earlier this year, some industry experts speculated that we could reach 30 million smart speakers in homes by the end of the year. At the time, this prediction seemed ambitious. But now we could see real sales that are double (60 million) – or more.

About the author

Greg Sterling is a contributing editor to Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog, Screenwerk, about the link between digital media and consumer behavior in the real world. He is also vice president of strategy and ideas for the local research association. Follow him on Twitter or find him on Google+.