Apple delays HomePod release until 2018
Apple has pushed back the release date of their HomePod smart speaker from December to “early 2018” the company confirmed in a statement on Friday. With this announcement the tech giant will now miss the crucial Christmas sale period that is likely to be a big one for the sector.
Announcing the delay, an Apple Spokesperson said, “We can’t wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple’s breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers. We’ll start shipping in the US, UK and Australia in early 2018.”
The HomePod was debuted to much fan fair at the WWDC in June. This is Apple’s first foray into the smart speaker market and the reason for the delay is unclear at this time. As you would expect from an apple product the speaker comes loaded with Apple’s flagship smart assistant Siri. It will face stiff competition from Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant which have made the Amazon Echo and Google Home a must have smart home gadget for the past year. How Siri will transition from occasional assistant on a phone to something much bigger remains to be seen.
HomePod: More than just a smart assistant
So far Apple has been keen to stress the musical capabilities of the HomePod. The speaker automatically syncs with your Apple Music library and with six microphones Siri can hear you even when the music is blasting out.
With a four-inch subwoofer and a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters, the HomePod is more than capable of competing with other speakers from the likes of Sonos that fall within the same price bracket.
The $349 price tag (expected to be roughly £349 in the UK) is well above that of the Google Home (£129/$129), the Amazon Echo (£149.99/$179.99) and the cheaper Echo Dot (£49.99/$49.99).