Alongside the growing popularity of the smart home movement is an increased interest in smart speakers: not only are they a great way to fill the house with music, they also serve as gateways to voice-activated information as well as smart home functionality. Google and Apple, two companies that lead the mobile technological front, both have plans to bring their most powerful smart speakers to the market this holiday season; however, it seems Apple's metaphorical pie needs a little more time in the oven.
"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. We'll start shipping in the U.S., U.K. and Australia in early 2018."
This really isn't too big of a delay — Apple had planned on rolling out HomePod speakers to customers this December, same as Google still plans to do with its beefed-up Home Max speaker, which is currently slated to arrive on doorsteps and store shelves next month.
While no reason behind the delay was offered, given that Apple is only looking for an extra four weeks or so, it's likely that software or compatibility concerns have arisen or that production otherwise just ran a little behind schedule; this far into development, we can only assume that the hardware itself is good to go and that there are a few minor kinks to work out before the speakers are ready for a worldwide release. This is speculation, of course — unless Apple provides more information, we may never know the reason behind the delay.
Either way, the HomePod is set to be a popular choice in the smart speaker market, even if it doesn't bring any new functionality to the table — like with offerings from Google and Amazon, the HomePod is primarily concerned with offering up access to streaming music and special tweaks to increase volume and sound clarity in its given environment. The speakers are set to retail for $349 each, with the option to link together multiple speakers for room-filling sound.