Wednesday in CE: First Million HomePods Begin Shipping, 11 Million More to Come
After much delay, the last opponent to the smart speaker arena has finally decided to show up. Despite being the first to launch a digital assistant, Apple's Siri has fallen a long way behind the likes of Google and Amazon. The HomePod, a mesh wrapped smart speaker, will hopefully right that ship as it adds a new dimension to Apple's ecosystem.
The delay simply came as Apple's need for "a little more time" before it was ready to launch.While an initial shipment of 1 million units is modest by Apple standards, the report states that unnamed sources expect 10-12 million speakers to ship by the year’s end.
As of now, Taipei Times reports that Apple supplier Inventec has begun a limited shipment of one million speakers to Apple. Earlier this month, analysis from GBH insights predicted that the HomePod would be released in 4 to 6 weeks, aligning with expectations. That supplier, Inventec, is one of two manufacturing the HomePod, along with Hon Hai Precision Industry. The two companies are reportedly splitting production 50/50.
Interestingly enough, NPR and Edison Research released information yesterday that revealed that nearly 1 in 6 American adults (or 39 million people) own a smart speaker, with Amazon-enabled speakers controlling 11% of that market, Google at 4%. Even at 10 million, that would help close the gap but is it too little too late?
The automaker will charge $80 per year for access to CarPlay starting next year, with no fee during the first year of ownership of a new BMW, according to Don Smith, technology product manager for BMW North America. BMW currently charges a $300 upgrade fee to drivers who want CarPlay, available in its 2017 model year and newer vehicles.
Smith believes switching to a subscription-based pricing system will provide BMW owners with more flexibility. "This allows the customer to switch devices," he said, while mentioning Android as a specific example.
BMW doesn't currently support Android Auto, although Smith said Google Assistant is coming to new BMW models later in 2018.
BMW added CarPlay for 2017 as a $300 option on cars equipped with built-in navigation. It introduced a wireless CarPlay setup with charging on the 5 Series last year, too, supported by the latest iDrive 6.0 interface. Currently, BMW doesn’t offer Android Auto on any of its vehicles. But Smith said Google Assistant is coming to new BMW models later in 2018.
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