Tue, Jan 16, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Inventec begins shipping long-awaited HomePods

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Inventec Corp (英業達), one of the two assemblers for Apple Inc’s HomePod, has started shipping the US company’s long-awaited “smart” speaker with an initial shipment of about 1 million units, industry sources said.

“The Taiwanese company has begun HomePod shipments. However, revenue contribution from the product to Inventec is expected to be limited this quarter, as the initial shipment is not large,” a source in HomePod’s supply chain told the Taipei Times by telephone on condition of anonymity.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) is the other assembler of HomePods.

HomePod shipments this year are expected to reach between 10 million and 12 million units, with Inventec and Hon Hai each fulfilling half of the orders, the source said.

Apple unveiled its first voice-controlled smart speaker during the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June last year.

HomePod was previously scheduled to hit the markets before the end of last year, but Apple in November issued a statement saying that it needed more time before the product is ready for customers.

Apple at the time said the product would be available early this year in the US, UK and Australia. It did not specify a time frame.

The delay in HomePod’s launch was caused by the fine-tuning of software and hardware integration, said another industry source who also declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.

As the companies in HomePod’s supply chain received a shipment notice from Apple at the beginning of this month, it is believed that the product is to hit the markets soon, the second source said.

Apple had not updated HomePod release information on its Web site as of yesterday.

Inventec and Hon Hai declined to comment on the matter.

In related news, Inventec said it expects revenue to contract by 15 percent this quarter from last quarter’s NT$132.66 billion (US$4.49 billion), as the industry enters a traditional slow season.

Inventec manufactures a wide range of electronics from notebook computers, servers and smartphones, to wearables and wireless earpieces.

In addition to HomePod, Inventec assembles Apple’s AirPod.

Shares of Inventec gained 0.43 percent to close at NT$23.3 in Taipei trading yesterday, while Hon Hai rose 1.63 percent to NT$93.3. The TAIEX rose 0.66 percent.

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