Apple has announced that its HomePod will be launching in Germany, France, and Canada on June 18. The Siri-enabled smart speaker marks a major market expansion for the tech giant, and the announcement could be an effort to boost dwindling sales of the HomePod, which will now be available in six countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia. There has been no announcement yet on what the price of the device will be in the newly added markets.
The announcement comes just as Apple announced a new iOS update which will add more features to the HomePod speaker. With the update, the HomePod can now support multi-room audio and stereo pairing, so users can connect the device with any AirPlay 2-enabled speakers to hear audio across different rooms of the house. Users can also sync two HomePod devices to create a stereo system. The update allows the HomePod to remain competitive with Amazon Echo and Google Home, both of which already support multi-room audio.
Since its January release, the HomePod has experienced uninspiring sales, with Apple reportedly cutting orders after seeing poor sales volume. While many users were impressed with the speaker’s sound quality, people were disappointed by the device’s inability to support non-iOS devices, and the lack of built-in music sources besides Apple Music. According to a Bloomberg report, many also found the $349 price tag simply too high, especially when compared to other devices in the smart speaker market.
During the first ten weeks of HomePod sales, the device occupied 10 percent of the smart speaker market, with Amazon Echo and Google Home occupying 73 and 14 percent, respectively. Part of the initial disappointing sales figures might be explained by the fact that Apple missed its original HomePod release date in December, which could potentially have increased sales over the holiday season.
It remains to be seen whether the HomePod will fare better in Germany, France, and Canada. If not, it’s rumored that Apple will be announcing a cheaper version of the HomePod later in 2018, which could spur sales among potential buyers who were initially turned off by the price tag of the device.