Apple pushes back release of HomePod speaker to 2018

Posted November 20, 2017

Apple has forecast between US$84 billion and US$87 billion in revenue for the holiday - mostly driven by sales of its US$999 iPhone X - so it's unlikely that missing a few weeks of sales of its US$349 speaker will affect its financial results, Bob O'Donnell, founder of Technalysis Research, said.

"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 HomePod is Apple's first attempt at the Amazon and Google-dominated smart speaker market. The speaker, which can make music suggestions and adjust home temperatures, takes aim at Amazon's Alexa feature and Echo devices. The iPhone maker had planned to release its answer to Google Home and Amazon Echo in December, but now admits that more development is needed.

AI Assistants are more used in smart speakers than phones.

In fact, the HomePod delay could even be a good thing. A lot of people would have included the Apple HomePod to their shopping list already. With HomePod, Siri would stop being only on iOS devices and Mac OS computers and would be much more present in people's lives through other devices.

The speaker was originally set to be released in US by December 2017, but will now be available in US, UK and Australia by early 2018.

It's unclear why the product has been delayed, but it will miss the holiday rush. That will have to wait until "early" next year, though the company did not give a specific date for the eventual release.

The HomePod will first hit the US, Australian and United Kingdom markets in December and carries a US$349 price tag - although Australian pricing has yet to be revealed, we'd peg the local stick around the $499 mark.

Google Home had sold seven million devices, grabbing a 27% market share. Along with the bad publicity that comes from having to delay a product announced months ago, Apple also faces the sting of losing out on HomePod sales for what is its busiest time of the year.