Apple

Apple Delays HomePod

Apple announced today (Nov. 17) that it’s delaying the launch of its HomePod voice-activated smart speaker until early next year.

“We can’t wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple’s breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers,” Apple said. “We’ll start shipping in the U.S., U.K. and Australia in early 2018.”

According to news from CNBC, HomePod was originally scheduled to ship in December in time for the holiday season. Apple did not give a reason for the delay.

Priced at $349, HomePod will compete with smart speakers such as Amazon Echo, Google Home and similar products from Sonos.

In fact, earlier this year, sources revealed that Amazon was overhauling the Echo after more than two years in an effort to steal some of the HomePod’s thunder. The redesigned Echo will not only be shorter and slimmer than its predecessor, but the design will also have rounded edges and a so-called cloth-like covering instead of the plastic encasement on the current Echo.

Amazon is also improving the sound of the Echo’s voice-activated speaker, including several tweeters instead of just one large tweeter and woofer. In a brief demo, the HomePod — which has seven tweeters — sounded better than the Echo.

In the meantime, the HomePod’s delay is unlikely to affect the company’s financials, Drexel Hamilton’s Brian White said, with only 1 million units expected to ship in the December quarter.

“Essentially, it’s going to shift from being a stocking stuffer to a gift for the Easter basket,” White said.

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