Apple delays HomePod release until 2018

According to Apple the new Home Pod wireless speaker uses spatial awareness to sense location and adjust audio and can be voice-controlled with an array of six microphones

Apple's accessory business, part of its Other Products segment, is minuscule compared to the iPhone and Services businesses, so the delay is unlikely to materially affect Apple's earnings. The company is already behind rivals like Amazon, which pioneered the market for speakers that can be controlled with voice commands and artificial intelligence with the release of the original Echo in 2015. The smart speaker was due to launch in the US, UK, and Australia in December 2017, having been announced back in June alongside the iMac Pro at WWDC.

If you were hoping to buy a HomePod for your honey this holiday season, you'll have to come up with plan b. Instead of being available in December, it will ship early next year, the company told CNN Tech. But Apple promised that the speaker would have all of Siri's smarts and stand out from the pack by offering superior sound quality. The HomePod looks like an oversized toilet paper roll covered in mesh fabric. By the end of the year, Google says it is expected to release a higher-end version of the Home speaker, the Google Home Max, which at $399 would be the most expensive of the connected speakers. Where Apple does fall short is providing a smart experience with Siri.

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Priced at $349 and launching in space gray and white, the 7-inch-tall HomePod features an Apple A8 chip, seven-tweeter array, and a 4-inch designed Apple woofer. It's unclear why the product has been delayed, but it will miss the holiday rush.

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