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Why Apple's HomePod failed to compete with Amazon's Echo speaker

Though the HomePod delivers market-leading audio quality, consumers have discovered it's heavily dependent on the iPhone and is limited as a digital assistant

Apple HomePod
Apple HomePod Speaker | Photo: Bloomberg

When Apple Inc.’s HomePod smart speaker went on sale in January, it entered a market pioneered and dominated by Amazon’s Echo lineup of Alexa-powered devices. Apple has been touting the HomePod’s superior sound quality but so far hasn’t enticed many consumers to part with $349. By late March, Apple had lowered sales forecasts and cut some orders with Inventec Corp., one of the manufacturers that builds the HomePod for Apple, according to a person familiar with the matter. At first, it looked like the HomePod might be a hit. Pre-orders were strong, and ...