If you were hoping to give (or hoping to get) an Apple HomePod this year, you’re out of luck. Apple announced today that its smart speaker will be delayed until 2018.
“We can’t wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple’s breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers,” an Apple spokesperson in a statement. “We’ll start shipping in the U.S., U.K., and Australia in early 2018.”
Apple’s smart speaker, set to compete with the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and the Cortana-powered Harman Kardon Invoke, was announced at Apple’s WWDC conference in July of this year. Priced at $349 (or well above most of its competitors in the smart-speaker space), Apple’s smart speaker is supposed to compete more on pure sound quality than as a voice assistant. Apple hasn’t offered an exact reason why it’s delaying the HomePod, but many suspect it may have something to do with Siri. Apple’s voice assistant — which would be the primary interface for the smart speaker — is seen by many as still lagging well behind the capabilities of other companies’ offerings, and most of the team that built Siri has left Apple in a slow exodus over the past few years.
This isn’t the first time Apple has delayed one of its products. Last year its AirPods were supposed to be released in October, and ended up barely making it onto store shelves for the 2016 holiday season.