Apple pushes launch of HomePod smart speaker to early 2018

HomePod Apple has pushed the launch of its HomePod smart speaker to early next year from December, the company said in a statement.

“We can’t wait for people to experience HomePod … 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,” an Apple spokeswoman said.

Apple introduced the voice-controlled device in June. The speaker, which can make music suggestions and adjust home temperatures, takes aim at Amazon’s Alexa feature and Echo devices.

“I had a feeling this would happen when the iPhone X press briefings came and went without a word about HomePod,” said Apple commentator John Gruber. “It’s a tough miss for Apple — there are surely going to be a lot of Amazon Echo devices under Christmas trees this year.”

Apple said the HomePod was a “breakthrough wireless speaker for the home that delivers amazing audio quality and uses spatial awareness to sense its location in a room and automatically adjust the audio.”

Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said at the time: “Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes.”