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China's Tianma Microelectronics has entered Apple's Supply Chain to manufacture Apple's First Smart Speaker Device

1 cover homepod speaker + swivel display

A new heavyweight Chinese company by the name of Tianma Microelectronics is set to join Apple’s supply chain, becoming a new beneficiary of Apple’s revamped smart home strategy. With this new supplier, Ming-Chi Kuo predicts the following:

  1. That Apple will unveil a redesigned HomePod featuring a 7-inch panel in 1H24, with Tianma as the exclusive panel supplier.
  2. The HomePod, which equips a panel, could enable tighter integration with Apple’s other hardware products, marking a significant shift in the company’s smart home strategy.
  3. Tianma’s long-term prospects in Apple’s supply chain look promising. It’s poised to follow the growth path of BYD Electronics or BOE by starting with low-end products and gradually increasing its shipment allocation, and obtaining higher-end products through technology capacity upgrades. Tianma’s next orders from Apple may be iPad panels if the shipment goes well.
  4. Tianma’s Android smartphone panel production capacity is full currently, and its capacity utilization rate surpasses its competitors. If this trend continues until 2H23, its revenue and profit in 2023 could exceed market expectations.

 

An Apple patent published in November 2022 hinted at a HomePod with a display that worked with a security camera system. This fits in with the "smart home strategy" that Kuo references. One patent figure from that patent is presented below. Our cover graphic is a concept design by Canadian Artist Anh (@pwign.com)

2 HomePod with camera

While there have been many reports about some of Apple's supply chain rushing to setup shop outside of China, here's a case where Apple has chosen a large electronics company with plants throughout China.

Will this new HomePod simply add a display to its current form factor, or will Apple add a new form factor to the mix or over time provide a family of such devices for different budgets and needs?

Back in January, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reported that Apple was working on a slate of new home devices aimed at challenging Amazon and Google smart speaker devices.

Obviously Apple has now gone past the design phase of at least one new smart speaker device and has chosen an advanced supplier that could deliver such a quality device in volume if need be.

10.X2 - Ming-Chi Kuo Supply Chain News

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