Apple delays HomePod launch until 'early 2018'
Originally scheduled to debut in December, Apple has pushed the launch of its Siri-equipped HomePod speaker into early 2018, saying the company needs more time to complete the home audio accessory.
"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. We'll start shipping in the U.S., U.K. and Australia in early 2018," the company said in a statement to TechCrunch.
Apple didn't immediately offer an explanation for the delay. The smartspeaker was originally slated to ship next month for $349.
The HomePod hardware was unveiled at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. While Apple has positioned the device as a premium, high-quality speaker, the accessory is also Apple's answer to intelligent home speakers like Amazon's Echo and Google Home.
With Siri support built in, the speaker is capable of answering basic user queries, controlling HomeKit-connected appliances and playing back media content. HomePod puts a premium on performance and design, with a 3D mesh acoustic fabric enshrouding a 7-tweeter pack, 6-microphone beamforming array and central up-firing subwoofer.
The HomePod will also feature AirPlay 2 technology, which allows one iOS device to simultaneously stream music to multiple speakers at once. Third-party accessory makers will also have the ability to integrate AirPlay 2, but it's not clear whether the HomePod delay will also affect alternative AirPlay 2 certified speakers.
With the iPhone X now available and the HomePod delayed, the only remaining product expected from Apple in 2017 is the all-new iMac Pro. Apple has said that the professional-grade all-in-one desktop will launch in December starting at $4,999.