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Smart Home

Apple's HomePod so far an also-ran with 6 percent of smart speaker market

It's still early, but Apple is currently far from dominating the smart speaker world.

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The HomePod snagged share from Amazon and Google, but not much.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Apple was late to bring out its own smart speaker, and it shows.

Only 6 percent of smart speaker users in the US had one of the tech titan's HomePod devices as of the end of June says a report Thursday from market researcher Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. In comparison, Amazon stayed No. 1, with 70 percent, and Google remained second, with 24 percent. The number of devices in use in the states hit 50 million.

Apple started selling its Siri-powered HomePod speaker in early February to compete with Amazon's Alexa-enabled Echo devices and the Google Assistant-powered Google Home. But while Amazon and Google both offer $50 versions of their speakers, Apple sells only one version and it costs $349. Plus, the Echo went on sale in 2014 and the Home in 2016.

Apple's higher price and late entry into smart speakers was expected to limit the HomePod's potential, and so far that expectation appears to be playing out. However, industry watchers see Apple's loyal fanbase and its ability to charge more for its devices as reasons not to count out the company in the market.

Apple "now has a small but meaningful share" of the smart speaker market, CIRP co-founder Josh Lowitz said. "It took a small share of the market from both Amazon and Google."

With the HomePod selling for just a few months, it's still hard to tell whether the device will be able to continue to gain in market share or get boxed out by Amazon and Google. There's also the potential for a smaller, cheaper version of the HomePod that could better compete against lower-priced rivals.

Regardless, the HomePod remains a tiny piece of Apple's hardware empire, with the company's iPhones making up about two-thirds of revenue. Apple on Thursday became the first US and first tech company to hit $1 trillion in market value, a huge milestone that for now is unlikely to be affected one way or another by the HomePod.

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