In an apparent effort to stay competitive in the smart speaker war, Apple today clipped $50 off the price of its HomePod, bringing the cost down from $349 to now $299. The new price applies to both the White and Space Gray models. For those who are interested, the $50 savings negates the cost of adding an AppleCare+ warranty, which is an additional $39 charge.
Apple is not exactly known for slashing prices on its products without a new model being announced. It's possible that a HomePod 2 is on the horizon, but more likely, Apple is trying to bolster sales and be more competitive in an increasingly crowded field, albeit one that is dominated by Amazon and Google (in that order).
Up to this point, the HomePod has not been able to gain significant traction in comparison to the top dogs. In February, research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) released a report indicating that the HomePod commanded just a 6 percent share of the smart speaker market in the United States. Amazon is the market leader at 70 percent, followed by Google at 24 percent.
CIRP also reckoned that Apple would not see a big jump in market share until it fleshes out its lineup with lower-end models.
"Amazon and Google both have broad model lineups, ranging from basic to high-end, with even more variants from Amazon," said CIRP co-founder Josh Lowitz. "Apple of course has only its premium-priced HomePod, and likely won't gain significant share until it offers an entry-level product closer to Echo Dot and Home Mini."
It's not clear if Apple has any plans to actually do that. Traditionally, Apple has focused on the premium sector, and priced its products accordingly. However, there have been rumors of a cheaper HomePod, one with Beats branding attached to it. Apple acquired Beats for $3.2 billion nearly five years ago.
For now, though, it seems the company is hedging its bets on a price cut, rather than releasing an entry-level version of the HomePod.