Just last week, analytics company GBH Insights said Apple's HomePod smart speaker would go on sale within the next four to six weeks. It seems the industry analyst does have good insight, as Apple is said to have started receiving the first shipment of the Siri-enabled smart speaker from supplier Investec.
The news comes from the Taipei Times, which cites industry sources as saying Investec has sent out the first 1 million units of the HomePod. Apple is also believed to have told companies within the supply chain for the HomePod, one of these companies has weighed in and said the speaker will be launching "soon".
Apple has previously said the HomePod would launch in early-2018 after it missed the initial planned December release. At the time, the tech giant said it needed "a little more time before it's ready for customer." While early-2018 is relatively vague, the latest it should be on sale is April. However with this recent development, we'd anticipate a late-January, early-February release.
Once it is released, shipments of the HomePod are expected to reach between 10-12 million units for 2018. Apple is clearly hoping it will perform well, although it can't be ignored that Amazon and Google already have a tremendous advantage in the smart speaker space.
It's not the first time Apple has had to play catch up though, it's quickly become the second-largest music streaming service provider with Apple Music. With the HomePod touting better music and audio credentials than the Amazon Echo or Google Home, it certainly has a more unique selling point.