Apple HomePod sales 'underwhelming,' AirPods still growing, analyst says

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Sales of Apple's first smartspeaker, the HomePod, have so far been "underwhelming," according to a Barclays analyst, citing a week-long trip his team spent meeting companies in Apple's Asian supply chain.

While no exact numbers were provided, Apple was originally planning a first production run of 6 to 7 million units, said Blayne Curtis in a memo seen by AppleInsider. Few HomePod figures have emerged, and none from Apple itself, so it isn't clear what the analysts are using for a measure of success. Most recently, Loup Ventures estimated that 3 percent of smartspeaker owners have a HomePod.

The HomePod has typically been praised for its sound quality, but lambasted for Siri, which is more limited as an AI assistant that Amazon's Alexa or Google Assistant.

On a positive note, Curtis said Apple will probably continue to grow production of AirPods, which have proven a strong seller for Apple despite their $159 pricetag. U.S. online orders may still take weeks to deliver, well over a year after their Dec. 2016 launch.

Both AirPods and the HomePod are rumored to be getting updates later this year. The flagship $349 HomePod could be joined by a cheaper model, while AirPods could be tweaked to include a newer wireless chip and tap-free "Hey Siri" commands. 2019 buds could have better water resistance.

Curtis said Barclays is expecting some form of upgraded AirPods early next year.