Friday, 15 December, 2017

Apple to miss holiday season with HomePod speaker

Apple introduced the voice-controlled Home Pod in June Apple introduced the voice-controlled Home Pod in June
Garry Little | 20 November, 2017, 02:08

Apple will fail to deliver its HomePod internet-connected speakers in time for the Christmas shopping season. The much awaited smart speaker was originally set to be released in United States by December 2017, but will now be available in U.S., U.K. and Australia by early 2018.

The Apple HomePod has been delayed to early 2018, giving rivals Amazon and Google a huge advantage in the smart speaker race.

Apple has forecast between $84 billion and $87 billion in revenue for the holiday - mostly driven by sales of its $999 iPhone X - so it's unlikely that missing a few weeks of sales of its $349 speaker will affect its financial results, Bob O'Donnell, founder of Technalysis Research, said. Instead, according to the company's statement, HomePod will begin to be available by early 2018 in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.

The reasons for the delay in the release of the gadget is not specified. In addition, the company has mentioned that it will release in early 2018, which is very vague.

"Last holiday season, smart speakers were huge, and this season they're going to be huge", O'Donnell said.

Apple said in a statement that HomePod is still work in progress and it needs more time to finish before the device reaches customers.

Smart speakers use "always listening" microphones to detect commands, then talk back with a smart assistant, such as Siri or Alexa.

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

The downside is that during all this time, there are many technological companies that have shown their novelties in the segment of smart loudspeakers. The second-generation Amazon Echo offers improved sound quality with a lower price tag of $99, while the Google Home Max is a $399 device that is prepared to be a direct challenger to the HomePod.

But Apple could still have a surprise or two in store. Previously, we saw some leaked images of the "smart speaker" from Apple. But now it seems that Apple wants to make a product solid enough before users pay $349 for it.

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