Apple is the fourth biggest smart speaker brand worldwide

Apple’s HomePod was released in February 2018. — Picture courtesy of Apple
Apple’s HomePod was released in February 2018. — Picture courtesy of Apple

SAN FRANCISCO, May 19 — Apple has now earned a place in the world’s top five biggest smart speaker sellers.

The American tech firm reportedly shipped around 600,000 of its HomePod speakers worldwide in the first quarter of 2018, according to research from Strategy Analytics.

A total of around 9.2 million smart speakers were shipped worldwide between January and March of 2018.

Amazon is still by far the market leader, selling four million speakers from its Echo range, ahead of Google, which shipped 2.4 million of its Home speakers.

Next come Alibaba (700,000), Apple (600,000) and Xiaomi (200,000).

However, the Apple HomePod was only released in February, which skews the comparison somewhat.

Indeed, over a three-month period, Apple would no doubt have sold more smart speakers than Alibaba.

The sector has seen strong growth in the last year, with the arrival of new products from Chinese manufacturers Alibaba and Xiaomi, as well as Apple.

While Amazon still leads the way, seeing shipments more than double in a year, its market share has logically been eroded, dropping from 81.8per cent to 43.6per cent.

For the moment, Google is the firm’s biggest rival, with an eightfold increase in shipments year on year (26.5per cent market share).

The Apple HomePod is currently available in the USA, the UK and Australia.

This smart speaker stands out from the crowd on audio quality with 360-degree sound and spatial awareness technology to determine the speaker’s location in the room and adjust the sound automatically.

Powered by Apple’s Siri voice assistant, the speaker can be used to access Apple Music or to control domestic smart devices via HomeKit. — AFP-Relaxnews