Apple delays the HomePod speaker until 2018

Enlarge  Look at this happy couple enjoying voice commands and high quality audio in their home!Apple

Enlarge Look at this happy couple enjoying voice commands and high quality audio in their home!Apple

Apple confirmed on Friday its expensive Siri-powered smart speaker has been delayed.

A prototype Apple HomePod is seen during the annual Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, U.S. June 5, 2017.

The delay announced Friday means Apple's HomePod speaker won't be available in the U.S., United Kingdom and Australia until early next year.

"We'll start shipping in the US, UK and Australia in early 2018". Apple has indefinitely delayed the release of HomePod until 2018.

Apple's main pitch for its HomePod smart speakers was superior audio quality, but that advantage appears to be slipping: Sonos, which also pitches its speakers' audio quality for music lovers, now features support for the Alexa voice assistant. It comes with built-in smart assistant like you find on Google Home and Amazon Echo.

That's very different from the way other smart speakers integrate with third-party services. The company didn't give a reason for the delay, other than the product needing "a little more time before it's ready for our customers". The company is already behind rivals like Amazon, which pioneered the market for speakers that can be controlled with voice commands and artificial intelligence with the release of the original Echo in 2015.

If you were hoping to buy a HomePod for your honey this holiday season, you'll have to come up with plan b.

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