Apple to miss holiday season with HomePod speaker

Apple Delays Release of HomePod Smart Speaker: 'We Need a Little More Time'

However, Apple has been keen to market the HomePod as an upgrade on home music systems rather than just its built in assistant, calling it a system that will "reinvent" music listening at home. The company has long-term plans for the HomePod, after all.

Instead of being available in December, it will ship early next year, the company told CNN Tech. The issue is not about the company missing out on the 2017 holiday sales with Apple HomePod. Announced at Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this year, the cylindrical smart speaker features a seven-speaker array of tweeters, a four-inch subwoofer and a six-microphone array. A Google Home Mini costs $49, but the company is also coming out with a higher-end version for $399.

AI Assistants are more used in smart speakers than phones.

"We cannot wait for people to start using HomePod, which is a breakthrough of Apple's wireless loudspeakers for home, but we need a little more time before it is ready for our customers". The first quarter of 2018 may see the speakers being shipped to the United States, the UK and the Australian markets.

But voice control is created to work only with Apple Music, the company's $10 a month subscription service.

The Siri-powered smart speaker will not be rolled out in time to be part of the holiday shopping season, which means that the Amazon Echo and the Google Home will have one less competitor this year.

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.

But unlike other companies, Apple is hesitant to open up its speaker to third-party developers.

"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. But now it seems that Apple wants to make a product solid enough before users pay $349 for it.

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