Apple cuts the price of its smart speaker by $50 in face of cheaper competition from Amazon and Google

  • Apple has dropped the price of HomePod, its smart speaker, by 14%.
  • The HomePod competes with similar and less expensive products like Amazon Echo and Google Home.
  • Apple's HomePod only accounts for 6% of installed smart speakers in the United States, according to a study.
CNBC Tech: Apple HomePod 7
CNBC

Apple has officially dropped the price of its smart speaker, HomePod, to $299 in its online store in the United States. Previously, it was listed at $349.

The cut represents over a 14% drop in price. HomePod prices were also dropped internationally, including in the U.K.

The adjusted HomePod price is one sign that Apple's voice-enabled smart speaker competes in a crowded market with similar and less expensive devices from Amazon, Google, and other competitors.

The price cut may also suggest that Apple may be preparing to launch a new version of HomePod and has dropped prices to move inventory.

Amazon's Echo speaker, for example, costs $99. Google sells a premium smart speaker for $399, the Google Home Max. It also sells smaller versions for $129 and $39.

Apple doesn't sell a smaller or less expensive version of its HomePod. When it launched in 2018, Apple aimed to distinguish it from the competition and justify its higher price by emphasizing the quality of its audio as compared to Echo or Google's speakers.

But Apple's HomePod makes up only 6% of the 66 million smart speakers installed in the United States, according to an analysis from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. Google Home makes up 24% of the installed base, and Amazon's Alexa-enabled speakers have seized 70% of the market.

Like most smart speakers, users can tell HomePod to play songs or podcasts by speaking out loud to it. But unlike the competition, HomePod is only natively integrated with Apple's music service, Apple Music. Spotify, Amazon Music and other services only work if you beam the music from your iPhone or iPad to the HomePod. In November, Apple and Amazon introduced a feature enabling users to ask Alexa to to play Apple Music on an Amazon Echo.