Apple had plenty of good news yesterday. Revenue, profit and iPhone sales were all up. Any doubts about the iPhone X were pretty firmly laid to rest. ‘Other’ products – which includes Apple Watch, AirPods and HomePod – set a new record, at almost $4B sales. Services grew 31% to hit another all-time record.
But when you look at what Apple said about that Other products category, there was one notable omission …
CEO Tim Cook talked about Apple Watch.
Apple Watch had another great quarter with revenue growing by strong double digits year-over-year to a new March quarter record. Millions of customers are using Apple Watch to help them stay active, healthy and connected and they have made it the top selling watch in the world.
He talked about Apple still struggling to cope with demand for AirPods.
AirPods are incredibly popular and we’re seeing them in more and more places, in the gym, in coffee shops, wherever people are enjoying music on their Apple devices. This product is a runaway hit, and we’re working hard to meet the incredible demand.
But he had nothing to say about HomePod sales.
Our other product category also set a new record for the March quarter with revenue of almost $4 billion. We began shipping HomePod in February and unit sales of both Apple Watch and AirPods reached a new high for the March quarter.
So for Watch and AirPods record sales; for HomePod, no comment at all on popularity. Not even an ‘encouraging start’ or ‘significant early interest.’
That’s not necessarily a problem for Apple at this stage. What it launched in February was a very incomplete product. This is a device being sold on its audio quality rather than its smarts, and you can’t even pair two of them together for stereo. It’s a device which Apple hopes will make people want to have decent-quality audio throughout their home, yet multi-speaker functionality hasn’t yet been activated.
So it’s not surprising that it hasn’t yet sold well enough to merit a few encouraging words. There are plenty of us who’ve bought one and are waiting impatiently to buy at least one more. And there are others who love the idea but aren’t even going to bother until AirPlay 2 launches.
The real tests lay ahead. First, once the multi-speaker barrier is gone. When both stereo pairing and multi-room support are available, then HomePod sales should grow significantly. If they don’t, then at that point Apple has failed.
Second, the holiday quarter. When HomePod is a fully functional product (for Siri values of ‘fully-functional’), then how well it sells as a gift item will be the second big test. If Cook is still keeping quiet then, that’s the time to worry.