Thursday February 15, 2018
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Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, announces the new Apple HomePod during the annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California June 5, 2017. — Reuters picPhil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, announces the new Apple HomePod during the annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California June 5, 2017. — Reuters picSAN FRANCISCO, Feb 15 — Apple Inc’s HomePod, the company’s first foray into speakers in a decade, costs US$216 (RM 840.78) to build and generates thinner profit margins than other products like the Apple Watch and iPhone, according to analysis by TechInsights.

Given the HomePod’s US$349 price, that US$216 cost suggests Apple is generating margins of about 38 per cent, according to the product analysis firm. That compares with margins of 66 per cent and 56 per cent for the Google Home and Amazon Echo, products that compete in the smart-speaker market, but offer lower audio quality, according to the firm’s estimates.

“Apple is compressing their margins a bit, wanting to go big or go home,” said Al Cowsky, TechInsight’s costing manager. “In doing so, I suspect they reduced the selling price from a normal Apple margin in order to sell more units on volume.”

For comparison, the Cupertino, California-based company generates margins of 64 per cent on the flagship iPhone X, according to a materials teardown by IHS Markit. A US$349 original Apple Watch from 2015 was estimated by IHS to cost only US$84 for the materials.

Apple’s latest hardware product has won praise for its sound quality but criticism for the lack of smooth integration with the Siri digital voice assistant and the inability to work tightly with some popular outside applications, unlike its rivals. Apple, like Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google, wants the HomePod to keep consumers tied to its system of services like its music subscription.

The bulk of the HomePod’s costs come from the internal speaker technology, including the many microphones, tweeters, the woofer and the power management components. That adds up to US$58, while an additional US$60 includes various smaller parts like the lighting system used to display the Siri animation on the top of the device.

The HomePod’s A8 chip is estimated to cost US$25.50, while the external housing and other items come in at US$25. TechInsights also estimates manufacturing, testing, and packaging to add up to US$17.50.

Apple didn’t respond to requests for comment on the HomePod materials analysis. Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook commented on component breakdowns in 2015 during an earnings call by stating he has “never seen one that is anywhere close to being accurate.” — Bloomberg

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