Published: Mon, November 20, 2017
Industry | By Johnnie Johnson

Apple's HomePod smart speaker won't launch in time for the holidays

Apple's HomePod smart speaker won't launch in time for the holidays

Instead, the HomePod release date has been pushed back to early 2018, as Apple said that it needed more time to get the Siri-powered smart speaker ready. In the statement released by the company, they have not given any specific reasons, other than they need a little more time before it is ready to be available for consumers.

The HomePod had been scheduled to ship in December, in time to compete with the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Sonos during the holiday speaker shopping rush.

Apple has forecast between US$84 billion and US$87 billion in revenue for the holiday - mostly driven by sales of its US$999 iPhone X - so it's unlikely that missing a few weeks of sales of its US$349 speaker will affect its financial results, Bob O'Donnell, founder of Technalysis Research, said.

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The launch of the eagerly anticipated Apple HomePod has been delayed until next year.

SiriKit for HomePod is a great bet and hence Apple does not want to leave loose ends while trying to offer the best possible experience. Like its competitors, the speaker is controlled by Apple's AI assistant - Siri - which can do things such as read out the news, send iMessages and arrange music play lists.

The HomePod was first announced in June and is seen as Apple's answer to the popular smart speakers already on the market, most notably the Amazon Echo and Google Home. "We will begin shipping to the US, UK and Australia in early 2018".

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At $329, HomePod was poised to be one of the pricier smart speakers on the market, but it touts superior sound quality. The big question in everyone's mind is how good would be the SIRI personal assistant on the HomePod and if it will match up with the dynamic properties of Amazon's Alexa or Google Assistant.

To recall the specifications of the HomePod as revealed by Apple, the device will be cylindrical in shape and will have a range of speakers and sub-woofers and microphones. But now it seems that Apple wants to make a product solid enough before users pay $349 for it.

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