Apple's $349 HomePod speaker launches on February 9th

24 January, 2018, 12:11 | Author: Lorraine Moran
  • HomePod Icons

Apple had meant to release the HomePod last month during the holiday shopping season, but delayed its debut to refine the product. It was then delayed; it will arrive in stores on February 9.

First announced at WWDC past year, the HomePod is Apple's first stab at the Amazon and Google-dominated smart speaker market.

Apple's Siri has a commanding lead in availability over rivals by virtue of being featured on more than 1 billion iPhones and iPads. "We need a little more time before it's ready for our customers", the company said at the time. But this Friday, Apple will finally start taking pre-orders for the HomePod in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. If there is more than one HomePod in the same room, the speakers can be put up as a stereo pair for an enhanced hearing experience. It's a hi-fi speaker (unlike the Amazon Echo and Google Home) that works seamlessly with the iPhone and MacBook you already own. Amazon's main Echo device costs $100.

HomePod has other audiophile-friendly features, too.

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Apple has been able to sell devices at a premium price tag in the past. Priced at A$499, this expensive smart speaker claims to feature advanced voice recognition, directional audio, and hands-free messaging capabilities via WhatsApp. We think they will be blown away by the audio quality. Additionally, you can now ask for specific news categories such as Sports, Business or Music. Also inside the device is Apple's A8 chip, which was first introduced for the iPhone 6 in 2014. That's not always something its competitors can tout, though Google has touted the audio quality of the Home Max. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that the US, UK, and Australia are also the first regions where the HomePod is debuting next month. Voice music controls are reserved for Apple Music, and not Spotify, for example.

For those unaware, Apple HomePod is 7.0-inch tall and boasts a visually appealing design language with curvaceous column-like structure with visually appealing textured contours. HomePod can handle conversational questions as well such as "Hey Siri, can you play something totally different?" Most importantly for launch sales, it would have given HomePod enthusiasts plenty of incentive to buy multiple devices.

Apple's website simply says this function is "coming later this year".

HomePod is wrapped in a mesh fabric designed for both aesthetic and acoustic performance.

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