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

20 November, 2017, 02:08 | Author: Lorena Waters
  • Apple introduced the voice-controlled Home Pod in June

The HomePod will first hit the US, Australian and United Kingdom markets in December and carries a US$349 price tag - although Australian pricing has yet to be revealed, we'd peg the local stick around the $499 mark.

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.

They continued: "We'll start shipping in the US, UK and Australia in early 2018". The company has long-term plans for the HomePod, after all. Apple has not given reasons for the delay of this first generation of its smart speaker. It was scheduled to ship in December, Apple said at the time.

Apple's main pitch for its HomePod smart speakers was superior audio quality, but that advantage appears to be slipping: Sonos, which also pitches its speakers' audio quality for music lovers, now features support for the Alexa voice assistant. A Google Home Mini costs $49, but the company is also coming out with a higher-end version for $399.

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The former get sound flowing throughout the room; the later detect voice commands starting with "Hey Siri" to perform tasks ranging from playing music to driving HomeKit-compatible devices such as Philips Hue LED lighting. With HomePod, Siri would stop being only on iOS devices and Mac OS computers and would be much more present in people's lives through other devices. Apple said that its smart speaker will be able to control home appliances and take basic orders. Although developers can make apps for Siri and HomePod, they're now limited to building things like lists, notes, and messaging.

Inside it sports an Apple A8 microprocessor, which the company claims is "the biggest brain inside of a speaker".

"When HomePod comes out, you'll probably hear some great content from artists that are familiar and popular, and there's probably going to be some other special aspects as well", he said.

It's unclear why the product has been delayed, but it will miss the holiday rush. But now it seems that Apple wants to make a product solid enough before users pay $349 for it.

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