Shipments of HomePod smart speakers to start in February

After a long wait, Taiwanese Apple supplier Inventec announces HomePod smart speakers will begin in February

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HomePod smart speaker.

HomePod smart speaker. (By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Inventec Corp (英業達), one of two suppliers of Apple's new HomePod smart speaker, announced that production of the device is underway and it should be releasing its first shipment next month, reported UDN.

Despite previous delays in shipments of the HomePod, a smart speaker sold by Apple, Inventec announced that its production schedule is back on track and that shipments will be begin next month, with an optimistic estimate of initial sales to reach 10 million units. Production of the HomePod will be split evenly between Inventec and its fellow Taiwanese supplier Foxconn Technology Group, which is also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. in Taiwan.

Although at US$349, the HomePod has a higher price than its competitor the Amazon Echo at US$179, the device is expected to maintain Apple's philosophy of meeting the needs of the user. According to macworld, the HomePod is touted as coming with an "Apple-designed four-inch woofer for a deeper bass and seven beam-forming tweeters for high frequency acoustics," and users can interact with it through voice commands via Siri, a touch screen and a remote control.

Suppliers are confident that sales of the HomePod will have the opportunity to pass the 10 million unit milestone, as its competitor, the Echo, has only managed to sell 1 million units, despite glowing reviews by consumers. Apple is touting the device as a high-fidelity speaker that is designed to learn the owner's tastes, thus enabling it to become a digital DJ and automatically select a playlist that users would like.

Suppliers estimates that if 20 percent of the world's 100 million iPhone users purchase a HomePod, that will translate into 20 million units, which would make it a leader in the smart speaker market.