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18 November 2017, 01:41 | Ruben Fields
Apple's HomePod Siri-enabled speaker delayed until "early 2018"
Applesaid its next major new hardware product, the HomePod speaker, is being delayed until early next year, missing the key holiday shopping season. At $329, HomePod was poised to be one of the pricier smart speakers on the market, but it touts superior sound quality.
The spokesperson toldThe Verge the device will ship to the US, United Kingdom, and Australia in early 2018. 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 HomePod was first announced in June and is seen as Apple's answer to the popular smart speakers already on the market, most notably the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Although Siri was early to the voice assistant party, the company is late to the smart speaker trend.
Apple is also counting on HomePod to boost subscriptions to Apple Music and block the rise of rival Spotify.
The Homepod is a cylindrical smart speaker that features seven-speaker arrayu of tweeters, a four-inch subwoofer, and a six-microphone array.
The company is touting the HomePod as a high-fidelity speaker programmed to learn people's tastes so it can become a digital disc jockey that can automatically play tunes that its listeners will like.
For instance, consumers will be able to request songs and playlists from Apple Music, but third-party support for voice commands is limited to a small number of app categories that could leave Spotify and others in the cold.
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