Apple postpones launch of HomePod speaker until 2018

A prototype of Apple's Home Pod displayed during the 2017 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference in June

"We need a little more time before it's ready for our customers", Apple spokesbods said.

Once it eventually launches, the Apple HomePod will be available for £349 - more than twice the price of Google Home and the Amazon Echo combined at the time of writing.

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

With the delay, Apple will miss the chance to hook consumers with the speaker during the crucial holiday season. It is also unclear whether this is affecting the start of sales in other countries. Also, the Echo Plus, which will enable the control of connected devices in our home.

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.

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"Last holiday season, smart speakers were huge, and this season they're going to be huge", O'Donnell said. "The market's getting more and more competitive". Smart speakers from Google and Amazon let users give voice commands to play Spotify, but Apple Music does not work on the rival devices. 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.

Missing out on the lucrative Christmas market will undoubtedly hurt Apple a little, but in the long term the delay is unlikely to affect the overall popularity of the HomePod.

Earlier this year, Amazon announced the Echo Plus, a smart speaker with better audio quality, and Google confirmed to Reuters that its Home Max speaker with improved speakers will ship in December, though it has not given a specific date.

The Apple Homepod will be available in two colors: black and white.

An audience member takes a photo of the Apple logo before the start of the company's annual developer conference in San Jose, California, U.S. June 5, 2017.


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