InstaMarketNews.com is the place modern investors go to see what is going on in the stock market today. Get stock market commentary, stocks to watch, analyst upgrades and more in one convenient location.

Ming-Chi Kuo Says Apple Considering Lower-Priced HomePod After Potentially Lackluster Sales

HomePod shipments “could be far below market expectations” this year, according to reputable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.


“Our understanding is that the market expects HomePod shipments to arrive at 5-10 million units in the 2018 fiscal year, versus our forecast of only 2.0-2.5 million units,” wrote Kuo, in a research note obtained by MacRumors.

Kuo believes the “major miss” in HomePod shipments could be attributable to the speaker’s design and pricing, among other factors.

For starters, at $349, he said the HomePod’s high price “could undermine demand despite excellent sound quality.” He added that Siri provides an “uninspiring user experience” compared to competitors, presumably including the Amazon Echo with Alexa and the Google Home with Google Assistant.

Kuo said the HomePod’s potentially lackluster sales highlights “underlying concerns” in Apple’s development of artificial intelligence.

It’s been six years since Apple introduced Siri to the market, which was way ahead of the firm’s major competitors. The massive population of iOS and macOS users is also conducive to the promotion of the voice assistant function. However, we note that for most users worldwide, Siri is not a must-have function, and Apple has not yet become a leading brand in the AI voice assistant market. We also note that HomePod has not added support for new languages in the device since launch, suggesting Apple is facing challenges in AI/voice assistant development spanning the globe; this will cap the shipments momentum of HomePod.

The oft-accurate analyst said Apple is “mulling” a “low-cost version” of the HomePod that may help short-term shipments. However, even if the product materializes, he predicts it will only provide a short-term boost to sales.

More importantly, Kuo believes Apple needs to improve Siri, support more languages, and make other improvements to the HomePod to stay competitive against Amazon and Google in the smart speaker market. Premium audio quality alone may not be enough for customers to justify dropping $349 on the speaker.

Kuo’s research on potentially lower-than-expected HomePod shipments echoes similar reports from Bloomberg News and the China Times earlier this week. Rumors about a lower-priced HomePod have also surfaced a few times in recent months, with one report suggesting a $150-$200 price in the United States.

Apple released the HomePod in early February in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, and it also confirmed availability in France and Germany later this spring. AirPlay 2 features such as stereo sound and multi-room audio won’t be available until later this year, according to Apple.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer’s Guide: HomePod (Buy Now)

Discuss this article in our forums

HomePod shipments "could be far below market expectations" this year, according to reputable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.


"Our understanding is that the market expects HomePod shipments to arrive at 5-10 million units in the 2018 fiscal year, versus our forecast of only 2.0-2.5 million units," wrote Kuo, in a research note obtained by MacRumors.

Kuo believes the "major miss" in HomePod shipments could be attributable to the speaker's design and pricing, among other factors.

For starters, at $349, he said the HomePod's high price "could undermine demand despite excellent sound quality." He added that Siri provides an "uninspiring user experience" compared to competitors, presumably including the Amazon Echo with Alexa and the Google Home with Google Assistant.

Kuo said the HomePod's potentially lackluster sales highlights "underlying concerns" in Apple's development of artificial intelligence.
It's been six years since Apple introduced Siri to the market, which was way ahead of the firm's major competitors. The massive population of iOS and macOS users is also conducive to the promotion of the voice assistant function. However, we note that for most users worldwide, Siri is not a must-have function, and Apple has not yet become a leading brand in the AI voice assistant market. We also note that HomePod has not added support for new languages in the device since launch, suggesting Apple is facing challenges in AI/voice assistant development spanning the globe; this will cap the shipments momentum of HomePod.
The oft-accurate analyst said Apple is "mulling" a "low-cost version" of the HomePod that may help short-term shipments. However, even if the product materializes, he predicts it will only provide a short-term boost to sales.

More importantly, Kuo believes Apple needs to improve Siri, support more languages, and make other improvements to the HomePod to stay competitive against Amazon and Google in the smart speaker market. Premium audio quality alone may not be enough for customers to justify dropping $349 on the speaker.

Kuo's research on potentially lower-than-expected HomePod shipments echoes similar reports from Bloomberg News and the China Times earlier this week. Rumors about a lower-priced HomePod have also surfaced a few times in recent months, with one report suggesting a $150-$200 price in the United States.

Apple released the HomePod in early February in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, and it also confirmed availability in France and Germany later this spring. AirPlay 2 features such as stereo sound and multi-room audio won't be available until later this year, according to Apple.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Buy Now)

Discuss this article in our forums

Week in Review: MMI Week, Rusal Takes a Hit and Taking on Overcapacity

Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and some of the headlines here on MetalMiner: Need buying strategies for steel? Try two free months of MetalMiner’s Outlook In case you missed it, check out our Monthly Metal Index (MMI) reports for: Copper Global Precious Aluminum Raw…

The post Week in Review: MMI Week, Rusal Takes a Hit and Taking on Overcapacity appeared first on Steel, Aluminum, Copper, Stainless, Rare Earth, Metal Prices, Forecasting | MetalMiner.

Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and some of the headlines here on MetalMiner: Need buying strategies for steel? Try two free months of MetalMiner’s Outlook In case you missed it, check out our Monthly Metal Index (MMI) reports for: Copper Global Precious Aluminum Raw...

The post Week in Review: MMI Week, Rusal Takes a Hit and Taking on Overcapacity appeared first on Steel, Aluminum, Copper, Stainless, Rare Earth, Metal Prices, Forecasting | MetalMiner.

This Morning in Metals: EU Aluminum Smelting Costs Going Up, China Squeezes U.S. Scrap

This morning in metals, we look at a few key stories circulating in the metals news mill that buyers should have an eye on. EU ETS Reform to Increase Aluminium Smelting Costs According to CRU Group (paywall), the free carbon permit allowances for EU aluminum smelters that have always been in place are about to be…

The post This Morning in Metals: EU Aluminum Smelting Costs Going Up, China Squeezes U.S. Scrap appeared first on Steel, Aluminum, Copper, Stainless, Rare Earth, Metal Prices, Forecasting | MetalMiner.

This morning in metals, we look at a few key stories circulating in the metals news mill that buyers should have an eye on. EU ETS Reform to Increase Aluminium Smelting Costs According to CRU Group (paywall), the free carbon permit allowances for EU aluminum smelters that have always been in place are about to be...

The post This Morning in Metals: EU Aluminum Smelting Costs Going Up, China Squeezes U.S. Scrap appeared first on Steel, Aluminum, Copper, Stainless, Rare Earth, Metal Prices, Forecasting | MetalMiner.

Rapper Cardi B Breaks Taylor Swift’s Apple Music Record for Most First-Week Streams by Female Artist

It’s been one week since Cardi B released her debut studio album “Invasion of Privacy,” and over that time it’s reached more than 100 million streams on Apple Music. According to stats provided by Apple to The Verge, this means that Cardi B has set a n…

It's been one week since Cardi B released her debut studio album "Invasion of Privacy," and over that time it's reached more than 100 million streams on Apple Music. According to stats provided by Apple to The Verge, this means that Cardi B has set a new record for first-week streams by a female artist on Apple's streaming music service.

The previous record holder was Taylor Swift and her album "Reputation," which launched late last year. Invasion of Privacy is said to have broken Swift's streaming numbers on Apple Music by the middle of this week, and it's now the "fifth most-streamed album ever" on Apple Music, surpassing both The Weeknd's "Starboy" and Ed Sheeran's "Divide."

Cardi B's record breaking debut comes as Apple Music hit a new milestone in subscribers earlier this week, reaching 40 million paid users across 115 countries. Additionally, there are eight million people on the service's three-month free trial, bringing the total to nearly 50 million users listening to Apple Music, which is closing in on its 3-year birthday this June.

Apple Music has been growing quickly since last summer: there were 27 million subscribers last June, 30 million subscribers last September, 36 million subscribers in February, and 38 million subscribers in March. Adding an additional 2 million subscribers to hit 40 million subscribers in April was Apple Music's fastest growth yet.


Discuss this article in our forums

Best Buy 2-Day Sale: Save on 12-Inch MacBook, 5th Gen iPad, iPad Pro, and More

Best Buy today launched a new 2-day sale, offering discounts on the 12-inch MacBook, 5th generation iPad, 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus. For the 2017 MacBook models on sale, Best Buy’s prices this weekend are coming in around $100-$150 cheaper than B&H Photo and Adorama, while last year’s 9.7-inch iPad is between $30-$50 cheaper than rival retailers in the new sale.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

As with most of Best Buy’s Mac sales, students and parents of students can save an extra $50 on the 12-inch MacBooks this weekend, amounting to savings of $250. If you’re interested in any of the items on sale, be sure to place your order by Saturday, April 14 at 11:59 p.m. CT, when the discounts will expire.

12-inch MacBook – Save $200

5th Generation iPad – Save $80

10.5-inch iPad Pro – Save $50 or $100

  • 64GB with Wi-Fi (Rose Gold, Gold, Space Gray, Silver) – $599.99, down from $649.99
  • 256GB with Wi-Fi (Rose Gold, Gold, Space Gray, Silver) – $749.99, down from $799.99
  • 512GB with Wi-Fi (Rose Gold, Gold, Space Gray, Silver) – $899.99, down from $999.99

iPhone

  • Save up to $200 when you buy and activate an iPhone X, 8, or 8 Plus on a monthly installment plan

Other Sales

In addition to the 2-day sale, Best Buy is still offering savings of up to $200 off the 2017 MacBook Air from earlier this week. To check out this offer and more, head over to our full Deals Roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

Discuss this article in our forums

Best Buy today launched a new 2-day sale, offering discounts on the 12-inch MacBook, 5th generation iPad, 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus. For the 2017 MacBook models on sale, Best Buy's prices this weekend are coming in around $100-$150 cheaper than B&H Photo and Adorama, while last year's 9.7-inch iPad is between $30-$50 cheaper than rival retailers in the new sale.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

As with most of Best Buy's Mac sales, students and parents of students can save an extra $50 on the 12-inch MacBooks this weekend, amounting to savings of $250. If you're interested in any of the items on sale, be sure to place your order by Saturday, April 14 at 11:59 p.m. CT, when the discounts will expire.

12-inch MacBook - Save $200

5th Generation iPad - Save $80

10.5-inch iPad Pro - Save $50 or $100
  • 64GB with Wi-Fi (Rose Gold, Gold, Space Gray, Silver) - $599.99, down from $649.99

  • 256GB with Wi-Fi (Rose Gold, Gold, Space Gray, Silver) - $749.99, down from $799.99

  • 512GB with Wi-Fi (Rose Gold, Gold, Space Gray, Silver) - $899.99, down from $999.99

iPhone
  • Save up to $200 when you buy and activate an iPhone X, 8, or 8 Plus on a monthly installment plan

Other Sales
In addition to the 2-day sale, Best Buy is still offering savings of up to $200 off the 2017 MacBook Air from earlier this week. To check out this offer and more, head over to our full Deals Roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

Discuss this article in our forums

Russia Bans Access to Telegram Encrypted Messenger Service

A Russian law court has ordered that access to the Telegram encrypted messaging service should be blocked, according to Russian news agencies on Friday (via Reuters).

The development follows last week’s news that Russia’s media regulator had filed legal proceedings to block the app in the country because the company refused to enable state security services to access users’ messages.

The Telegram platform allows people to communicate with each other using end-to-end encryption, meaning no-one – not even Telegram – has access to messages sent between users.

The app has over 200 million users globally. They include Kremlin staff, who use Telegram to coordinate conference calls with Vladimir Putin’s spokesman. Many government officials also use the messenger app to communicate with media, according to Reuters.

When Reuters asked a person in the Russian government on how they would operate without access to Telegram, the person, who asked not be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue, replied by sending a screenshot of his mobile phone with an open VPN app.

Telegram becomes the second global network after LinkedIn to be blocked in Russia. In 2016, a court found LinkedIn guilty of violating a law that requires companies holding Russian citizens’ data to store it on servers within Russia.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Discuss this article in our forums

A Russian law court has ordered that access to the Telegram encrypted messaging service should be blocked, according to Russian news agencies on Friday (via Reuters).

The development follows last week's news that Russia's media regulator had filed legal proceedings to block the app in the country because the company refused to enable state security services to access users' messages.

The Telegram platform allows people to communicate with each other using end-to-end encryption, meaning no-one – not even Telegram – has access to messages sent between users.

The app has over 200 million users globally. They include Kremlin staff, who use Telegram to coordinate conference calls with Vladimir Putin's spokesman. Many government officials also use the messenger app to communicate with media, according to Reuters.
When Reuters asked a person in the Russian government on how they would operate without access to Telegram, the person, who asked not be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue, replied by sending a screenshot of his mobile phone with an open VPN app.
Telegram becomes the second global network after LinkedIn to be blocked in Russia. In 2016, a court found LinkedIn guilty of violating a law that requires companies holding Russian citizens' data to store it on servers within Russia.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


Discuss this article in our forums

Firefox for iOS Updated With Automatic Tracking Protection and New iPad Features

Mozilla has updated Firefox for iOS with some notable changes, including new iPad features and default tracking protection in both regular and private browsing sessions.

The additional privacy measure means users get automatic ad and content bloc…

Mozilla has updated Firefox for iOS with some notable changes, including new iPad features and default tracking protection in both regular and private browsing sessions.


The additional privacy measure means users get automatic ad and content blocking when browsing unless they opt out, while those who want to selectively deploy Tracking Protection need only tap the menu button and slide the feature's toggle.

On the iPad front, Mozilla has added the ability to re-order multiple open tabs to prioritize them. To do so, long-press a specific tab and drag it into the desired position. Meanwhile, in Split View, it's now possible to share and open links by dragging and dropping them to and from Firefox to any application, whether they're in an email or a tweet.


Firefox has also implemented new keyboard shortcuts for standard navigation, as well as several improvements for easier tab tray navigation, like Command-Option-Tab to get to and from the all tabs view. Users seeking more details on the full range of keyboard shortcuts available in Firefox can check Mozilla's online guide.

Firefox for iOS is a free download for iPhone and iPad available on the App Store. [Direct Link]


Discuss this article in our forums

How to Specify Your Activity Type in the Apple Watch Workout App

When you open the Apple Watch Workout app, the main screen by default offers you 10 quick-start workout types that you can use to track your exercise. These include Walking, Running, Cycling, Elliptical, Rower, Stair stepper, HIIT, Swimming, and Wheelchair.

If you want to track a more specialized activity that isn’t covered by these types, then you’ll want to note the tenth option on the main screen, called Other. Selecting Other allows you to label your activity more accurately by choosing from over 60 pre-defined workout categories – you can find Apple’s full list at the end of this article.

The neat thing about using the Other option is that once you’ve recorded a workout and given it a custom label, that workout type will subsequently appear in the main Workout screen as a quick-start option for the next time you need it.

How to Categorize an Activity in the Workout App

  1. Launch the stock Workout app on your Apple Watch.
  2. Using your watch’s Crown, scroll down the list of activity types and tap the Other option to begin your workout, or tap the three circled dots at the upper right of the option’s icon if you want to define a specific time or calorie goal before the workout starts.
  3. When you’ve completed the activity you want to track, swipe right on the metrics readout and tap End.

  4. Tap the grey Name Workout button near the top of the workout summary.
  5. Scroll through the alphabetical list and tap the category that best describes your workout. (Apple includes a convenient list of popular categories at the top.)
  6. With your activity now labeled, scroll down to the bottom of the workout summary screen and tap Done.

It’s unclear whether using these additional categories affects the way Apple Watch’s biometric sensors work (although we do know that using Other earns you the calorie or kilojoule equivalent of a brisk walk whenever sensor readings are unavailable). Either way, using specific labels ensures the Activity iOS app offers you a more informative exercise log, which makes it easier to filter to display specific workouts.


To learn how you can customize the Workout metrics for your chosen activity on Apple Watch, check out our how-to guide.

Full List of Apple Watch Workout Categories

  • American Football
  • Archery
  • Athletics
  • Australian Football
  • Badminton
  • Barre
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • Boxing
  • Climbing
  • Core Training
  • Cricket
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Cross Training
  • Curling
  • Dance
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Equestrian Sports
  • Fencing
  • Fishing
  • Flexibility
  • Functional Training
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Hand Cycling
  • Handball
  • HIIT (stands for High Intensity Interval Training)
  • Hiking
  • Hockey
  • Hunting
  • Jump Rope
  • Kickboxing
  • Lacrosse
  • Martial Arts
  • Mind & Body
  • Mixed Cardio
  • Paddling
  • Pilates
  • Play
  • Racquetball
  • Rolling
  • Rugby
  • Sailing
  • Skating
  • Snow Sports
  • Snowboarding
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Squash
  • Stairs
  • Step Training
  • Strength Training
  • Surfing
  • Table Tennis
  • Tai Chi
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field
  • USA Football
  • Volleyball
  • Water Fitness
  • Water Polo
  • Water Sports
  • Wrestling
  • Yoga
Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

Discuss this article in our forums

When you open the Apple Watch Workout app, the main screen by default offers you 10 quick-start workout types that you can use to track your exercise. These include Walking, Running, Cycling, Elliptical, Rower, Stair stepper, HIIT, Swimming, and Wheelchair.

If you want to track a more specialized activity that isn't covered by these types, then you'll want to note the tenth option on the main screen, called Other. Selecting Other allows you to label your activity more accurately by choosing from over 60 pre-defined workout categories – you can find Apple's full list at the end of this article.

The neat thing about using the Other option is that once you've recorded a workout and given it a custom label, that workout type will subsequently appear in the main Workout screen as a quick-start option for the next time you need it.

How to Categorize an Activity in the Workout App


  1. Launch the stock Workout app on your Apple Watch.
  2. Using your watch's Crown, scroll down the list of activity types and tap the Other option to begin your workout, or tap the three circled dots at the upper right of the option's icon if you want to define a specific time or calorie goal before the workout starts.
  3. When you've completed the activity you want to track, swipe right on the metrics readout and tap End.

  4. Tap the grey Name Workout button near the top of the workout summary.
  5. Scroll through the alphabetical list and tap the category that best describes your workout. (Apple includes a convenient list of popular categories at the top.)
  6. With your activity now labeled, scroll down to the bottom of the workout summary screen and tap Done.
It's unclear whether using these additional categories affects the way Apple Watch's biometric sensors work (although we do know that using Other earns you the calorie or kilojoule equivalent of a brisk walk whenever sensor readings are unavailable). Either way, using specific labels ensures the Activity iOS app offers you a more informative exercise log, which makes it easier to filter to display specific workouts.


To learn how you can customize the Workout metrics for your chosen activity on Apple Watch, check out our how-to guide.

Full List of Apple Watch Workout Categories

  • American Football
  • Archery
  • Athletics
  • Australian Football
  • Badminton
  • Barre
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • Boxing
  • Climbing
  • Core Training
  • Cricket
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Cross Training
  • Curling
  • Dance
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Equestrian Sports
  • Fencing
  • Fishing
  • Flexibility
  • Functional Training
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Hand Cycling
  • Handball
  • HIIT (stands for High Intensity Interval Training)
  • Hiking
  • Hockey
  • Hunting
  • Jump Rope
  • Kickboxing
  • Lacrosse
  • Martial Arts
  • Mind & Body
  • Mixed Cardio
  • Paddling
  • Pilates
  • Play
  • Racquetball
  • Rolling
  • Rugby
  • Sailing
  • Skating
  • Snow Sports
  • Snowboarding
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Squash
  • Stairs
  • Step Training
  • Strength Training
  • Surfing
  • Table Tennis
  • Tai Chi
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field
  • USA Football
  • Volleyball
  • Water Fitness
  • Water Polo
  • Water Sports
  • Wrestling
  • Yoga


Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

Discuss this article in our forums

The April MMI Report: LME Metals Fall While U.S. Steel Gets a Boost

Our latest round of Monthly Metal Index (MMI) reports is in, snapshotting what was a particularly busy month in the world of metals. Need buying strategies for steel? Try two free months of MetalMiner’s Outlook Last month, the Trump administration enacted Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, which had been a topic of…

The post The April MMI Report: LME Metals Fall While U.S. Steel Gets a Boost appeared first on Steel, Aluminum, Copper, Stainless, Rare Earth, Metal Prices, Forecasting | MetalMiner.

Our latest round of Monthly Metal Index (MMI) reports is in, snapshotting what was a particularly busy month in the world of metals. Need buying strategies for steel? Try two free months of MetalMiner’s Outlook Last month, the Trump administration enacted Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, which had been a topic of...

The post The April MMI Report: LME Metals Fall While U.S. Steel Gets a Boost appeared first on Steel, Aluminum, Copper, Stainless, Rare Earth, Metal Prices, Forecasting | MetalMiner.

New Vehicle Owners Largely Satisfied With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

New vehicle owners who have purchased a car that’s equipped with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are satisfied with the system and are increasingly relying on it for all in-car tasks, according to a new report released today by Strategy Analytics.

In …

New vehicle owners who have purchased a car that's equipped with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are satisfied with the system and are increasingly relying on it for all in-car tasks, according to a new report released today by Strategy Analytics.

In a survey querying new vehicle owners that have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto installed in their vehicles, Strategy Analytics found that 34 percent of CarPlay owners rely on CarPlay for all of their audio infotainment needs, while 27 percent of Android Auto users use the Android platform exclusively for audio infotainment.


32 percent of CarPlay users and 33 percent of Android Auto users rely on those systems for all of their navigation needs, with CarPlay's slightly lower number here likely attributable to customers who continued to be unsatisfied with Apple Maps compared to other mapping apps like Google Maps or Waze.

Speech recognition usage is said to be "strong" across both sets of users, with CarPlay owners taking advantage of Siri for hands-free tasks while driving.

Overall, more than 85 percent of CarPlay and Android Auto users are "somewhat or very satisfied" with their system, and more than 90 percent are likely to recommend those systems to others.

In a similar report from October, Strategy Analytics learned that CarPlay is becoming an increasingly important feature that consumers look for when purchasing a vehicle.

In the United States, for example, 23 percent of respondents said that CarPlay was a "must have" feature for a new car, while another 56 percent said they were "interested" in vehicles equipped with CarPlay.

While CarPlay has been available since 2015, car manufacturers did not begin widely adopting the feature until mid-2016. CarPlay is now included in many new vehicles from a wide range of manufacturers, with more than 200 vehicles on the market offering CarPlay support.

Related Roundup: CarPlay

Discuss this article in our forums