Apple is discounting its HomePod speaker hardware for employees, reports 9to5Mac. The HomePod speaker usually sells for $299, but both Apple retail and corporate employees can purchase a HomePod for just $149, which is half the regular price.
Apple may be using this insider promotion to move inventory of the hard-to-sell HomePod before it launches a new product.
The HomePod didn’t sell as well as Apple hoped, so it’s not surprising the company is reportedly considering an update. Though users raved about the sound quality of the speaker, its high price tag was thought to have slowed adoption.
Apple launched the HomePod in early 2019 with a $349 price tag. The speaker was heavily promoted during the holiday season, but people weren’t buying.
The company dropped the price in 2019 to $299, but that still hasn’t helped sales. Apple even brought the HomePod into other countries, but sales still lagged.
Reports suggest the HomePod is gathering dust on shelves with units manufactured as long as 2018 still present in some stores. According to analysts, Apple is losing market share and likely only sold between 5 to 10 million units in the two years since launch.
Apple reportedly is working on an updated version of the HomePod, expanding the product line to include a smaller and affordable version.
The HomePod mini may be a lightweight, portable version packed with features suitable for use in a home office or bedroom. The next-generation HomePod is expected to launch later this year, but a delay due to the effect of the coronavirus epidemic is possible.
Apple’s launch plan for the coming months is very much up in the air due to manufacturing delays resulting from the coronavirus.
The company is holding WWDC 2020 in June, moving the conference to an online format instead of in-person gathering. Apple likely will use the meeting to unveil iOS 14, macOS 10.16, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7.
Later this year, Apple is expected to unveil the new iPhone and possibly Apple Watch hardware. It’s during this latter event that we may learn more about official HomePod updates.