It’s no surprise that iPhone 8 supply will be constrained this fall, but the new smartphone might not be the only Apple product you’ll have trouble getting your hands on in late 2017. A report from Nikkei Asian Review indicates that electronics maker Inventec Appliances, which is expected to begin shipping the HomePod smart speaker before the end of the year, will start with a fairly limited supply.
“We will finally ship the smart home device this year, but its contribution will be fairly limited and hopefully that will improve next year,” Inventec Appliances President David Ho said during an earnings conference. While Ho did not specify which “smart home device” he was referring to, market watchers believe that Apple’s HomePod is the device in question. It’s worth noting that Inventec Appliances is currently responsible for manufacturing Apple’s wireless AirPods as well.
“Inventec Appliances will likely only ship some 500,000 units of HomePod this year, and the device’s contribution to the group’s revenue will be less than 1%,” said Fubon Securities analyst Arthur Liao. So few units will inevitably lead to shortages, which could mean yet another AirPods-like conundrum for Apple. If you want to get a HomePod of your own, you either need a preorder or some patience.
Looking forward, a person with “direct knowledge” of Inventec’s plans claims that the company will split HomePod order with Hon Hai Precision Industry (aka Foxconn) beginning in 2018. Even with that split, Inventec officials still expect the company’s total shipments of smart and connected devices to grow about 20%. Apple hasn’t shared a precise release date for the HomePod yet, but the smart speaker is scheduled to launch at some point in December.