Apple just delayed its HomePod smart speaker until next year

HomePod

The HomePod speaker was announced in June, with an initial launch date set for December.

Apple said Friday that it's pushing back its plans for a Siri-powered smart speaker until sometime early next year.

"We'll start shipping in the USA, United Kingdom and Australia in early 2018". It's not clear whether this is an issue with software, hardware, or production, but a delay is a delay. It makes sense as it's Apple's first foray into the growing market of smart speakers. The iPhone maker had planned to release its answer to Google Home and Amazon Echo in December, but now admits that more development is needed.

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"HomePod packs powerful speaker technology, Siri intelligence and wireless access to the entire Apple Music library into a attractive speaker that is less than 7 inches tall, can rock most any room with distortion-free music and be a helpful assistant around your home". 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. A Google Home Mini costs $49, but the company is also coming out with a higher-end version for $399.

The HomePod looks like an oversized toilet paper roll covered in mesh fabric. Although developers can make apps for Siri and HomePod, they're now limited to building things like lists, notes, and messaging. Instead, according to the company's statement, HomePod will begin to be available by early 2018 in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. The HomePod however, will not have this option and will drive more people to subscribe to Apple Music and the rise of rival Spotify. You can stream other services to it from a smartphone, but not with Siri.

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