Apple's HomePod speaker isn't coming out this year

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Apple's Home Pod speaker

Although Siri was early to the voice assistant party, the company is late to the smart speaker trend. At the time, Apple touted the device as a quality sound speaker first and a home assistant second, with 360-degree tweeters along the base and a 4-inch, upward-facing woofer.

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 U.S., United Kingdom and Australia in early 2018", an Apple spokeswoman said via email.

Powered by Apple's Siri digital assistant, HomePod is priced starting at US$349 (RM1,450), at the high end of the market, and is designed with high-quality audio to pair with the Apple Music subscription service.

Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies, called Apple's decision is a "smart move", that buys the company time to get it right.

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The delay means Apple will miss the key holiday shopping season in the fast-growing segment of connected speakers. The HomePod will also have to compete with recently released devices like the Alexa-enabled Sonos One speaker.

The HomePod was revealed at Apple's developer conference, WWDC 2017, back in June. Smart speakers from Google and Amazon let users give voice commands to play Spotify, but Apple Music does not work on the rival devices. You better come up with another gift, because HomePod won't be released in time.

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