Monday, February 26, 2018, 12:48 pm PT (03:48 pm ET)
Priced at $349, the Apple HomePod saw more pent-up demand at launch than virtually all of its competition, save for one budget-priced smartspeaker: Amazon's $50-and-under Echo Dot.
Day-one sales ofHomePod were tracked by NPD , though no actual hard sales data was given. The research firm found that preorders for the HomePod were higher than all competing products, including the likes the Sonos One and Google Home Max.
The lone exception was the Amazon Echo Dot, which the online retailer has positioned as something of an impulse buy. The entry-level personal assistant sells for $49, but has been discounted to as little as $30 in various sales.
The Echo Dot targets a far different audience than Apple's forthcoming $349 HomePod. Apple, instead, has positioned the HomePod as a high-end speaker for music lovers, while Siri-driven personal assistant capabilities are a side benefit of the hardware.
NPD expects that Bluetooth headphones and wireless speakers will see double-digit growth by the end of 2018. The firm noted that Apple's AirPods were the top-selling headphone product by the end of 2017, based on both dollars and units.
Combining the Beats brand with AirPods gives Apple a whopping 44 percent of all dollar sales, not just wireless, in the headphone space. With HomePod targeting the high end of the speaker business, the company now looks to take a chunk out of existing players like Bose and Harman Kardon.
Apple is rumored to expand its non-Beats headphone lineup with a new wirelessover-ear model said to arrive as soon as this year. According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, Apple aims to deliver a product that boasts the convenience of AirPods, but with better acoustic qualities.