Foxconn Tapped to Alleviate HomePod Supply Issues

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Supplies of Apple’s HomePod smart speaker might be limited at launch, but Apple is reportedly planning on mitigating issues by adding another prominent manufacturer to the supply chain.

Taiwan-based Inventec has been pegged as the chief supplier of Apple’s first smart home speaker since before its unveiling. During a press conference on Monday, Inventec President David Ho gave an estimated timeframe for a “high-profile” smart home device coming late 2017, according to Nikkei. Although Ho never specifically mentioned HomePod by name, the timeline and previous rumors about HomePod’s supply chain line up with his comments.

But Inventec is being realistic about HomePod’s expected revenue. “We will finally ship the smart home device this year, but its contribution will be fairly limited and hopefully that will improve next year,” Ho told analysts and journalists during the press conference. Analyst Arthur Liao of Taipei-based Fubon Securities predicted that Inventec is likely to only ship 500,000 HomePod units this year.

Apple, which historically has shied away from relying on single device makers, is apparently looking to bring other manufacturers to the HomePod supply chain, according to one of Nikkei’s sources. In particular, prominent Apple partner Foxconn could receive an even “split” of HomePod orders next year, allowing for more speakers to be produced and shipped than this year’s limited launch.

Inventec Appliances is notable because it also manufactures Apple’s AirPods. Interestingly, supplies of Cupertino’s wireless Bluetooth EarPods have also been constrained since they launched in December. Analysts predict that Inventec’s total device shipments are slated to grow to around 70 to 75 million units by the year’s end, although that number wasn’t broken down into Apple-related or other products.

HomePod was first unveiled in June at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The company’s first standalone smart speaker is expected to carry some significant advantages over competing products, including advanced acoustical technology and premium sound quality. It’s slated for a launch in December, a couple months after this year’s iPhone lineup is unveiled.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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