Apple Pushes The Launch Of HomePod Smart Speaker To Early 2018

Apple Pushes The Launch Of HomePod Smart Speaker To Early 2018

Apple will delay the launch of its HomePod "smart speaker" until 2018, pushing back the timeline from a promised December delivery. Apple's statement on Friday about the HomePod delay seems to be lifted nearly directly from its AirPods delay announcement in October 2016, which said: "We don't believe in shipping a product before it's ready, and we need a little more time before AirPods are ready for our customers".

Created to be a "premium" (read: expensive) take on the likes of Amazon's Echo and Google Home personal assistants, the $350 HomePod put its emphasis on high-quality audio. It's not clear whether this is an issue with software, hardware, or production, but a delay is a delay. A lot of people would have included the Apple HomePod to their shopping list already. But voice control is created to work only with Apple Music, the company's $10 a month subscription service.

PREVIOUS | Apple's much-anticipated Siri-powered "smart speaker" broke cover overnight at Apple's annual Worldwide Developer Conference in San Jose. Along with the bad publicity that comes from having to delay a product announced months ago, Apple also faces the sting of losing out on HomePod sales for what is its busiest time of the year.

While the speakers may be class apart, Apple may fall short of providing good assistance with Siri.

In June, some analysts questioned whether a December launch was already too late for Apple to compete with Amazon and Google for the connected home market. Although developers can make apps for Siri and HomePod, they're now limited to building things like lists, notes, and messaging. In addition, the company has mentioned that it will release in early 2018, which is very vague. Even if the majority of Echo or Google Home users own an iPhone, it is highly likely that they're talking to Alexa or Google Assistant more than Siri.

Google Home had sold 7 million devices, grabbing a 27 percent market share. Instead, according to the company's statement, HomePod will begin to be available by early 2018 in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.