Apple’s HomePod speaker delayed until next year

If you were looking to buy Apple’s new smart home speaker this holiday season, you are out of luck. The HomePod will be delayed until early 2018, the company announced Friday.

The $349 speaker, powered by Siri and advertised as a speaker with a sound quality superior to competitors Amazon Echo and Google Home, was slated for a December release.

“We can’t wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple’s breakthrough wireless speaker for the home,” said an Apple spokesperson in a statement. “But we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers. We’ll start shipping in the US, UK and Australia in early 2018.”

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This is the second time in as many years Apple has delayed a product. Last year, Apple delayed the release of AirPods, Apple’s custom wireless headphones, from October to December.

Apple reportedly had a stock of 50,000 HomePods to ship in 2017 and was expected to produce 4 million of the devices in 2018, according to a report from the Japanese business outlet Nikkei Asian Review. That number shrank from the 500,000 that was mentioned in a report from Nikkei in August.

Analysts, tech journalists, and longtime Apple observers did not disguise their lack of surprise at the delay on Twitter.

Photo: The HomePod, Apple’s new smart speaker, was supposed to be released in December 2017. (Courtesy Apple)

 

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