Apple executives used the company’s WWDC keynote Monday to announce a slew of software updates for the iPhone, Apple TV, Apple Watch and Mac — but one product was curiously missing: The Homepod, Apple’s smart speaker, wasn’t mentioned once during the two-hour presentation.
The absence of the Homepod was especially notable because the conference marked the one-year anniversary of the device’s unveiling. Apple used last year’s WWDC to introduce the smart speaker to the world, with Apple CEO Tim Cook promising at the time that it would “reinvent home audio.”
Apple had originally planned to launch the Homepod before the end of last year, in time for the holiday season. The company missed that deadline, and instead started to sell the device in February.
It rolled out a significant software update to the Homepod last month, bringing stereo-pairing and multi-room audio to the device. Apple also announced recently that it would start selling the Homepod in Canada, France and Germany starting June 18.
The initial reaction to the Homepod has been mixed, with some hailing its sound quality, while others have criticized missing support for third-party apps a limited implementation of the company’s Siri assistant.
Apple did announce some major updates to Siri for mobile devices Monday, announcing that the company’s smart assistant would soon support something called Shortcuts — custom routines that can be assigned to any command phrase. However, there was no word on when these, or any other Siri updates, will arrive on the Homepod.
Updating Siri on the device could possibly help Apple find more customers for the device. Homepod sales have been disappointing, according to multiple reports. Bloomberg reported in April that some Apple stores were seeing excess inventory. Strategy Analytics estimated last month that Apple only sold 600,000 Homepods in Q1, with Amazon selling 4 million Echo devices during the same quarter.
Part of Amazon’s dominance can be explained with much cheaper price points: Amazon’s Echo Dot speaker sells for just $50, and the company’s full-sized Echo retails for $100. Apple’s speaker on the other hand costs $349. This has resulted in some rumors that the company may introduce a cheaper version of the Homepod this year.