Apple's Homepod smart speaker comes out next month

Apple Home Pod price

Apple Inc said its HomePod smart speaker will be available for sale online Friday and hit stores on Feb 9, after being delayed from December.

The looming question for the company, though, is whether it is too late. Additional languages supported by HomePod's Siri will, presumably, be added in a future software update.

Pre-orders will begin on January 26 for users in the USA, the United Kingdom and Australia.

At $349, the HomePod costs more than double the now listed prices of $100 for Amazon's latest Echo and $129 for a Google Home. The Apple smart speaker will be available in France and Germany this spring. Market leader Amazon.com launched multiroom audio for its Echo devices just a couple months after AirPlay 2 was announced.

The device has two main purposes...

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HomePod has other audiophile-friendly features, too. Priced at $349, Apple will be looking to tackle high-end customers.

Smart speakers are the fastest growing segment of the home electronics segment these days.

In them, we learn that all four updates resolve kernel-related vulnerabilities discovered by Jann Horn of Google Project Zero, the researcher responsible for finding the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities (see "Apple Releases Meltdown and Spectre Info and Updates", 5 January 2018). That's not always something its competitors can tout, though Google has touted the audio quality of the Home Max. HomePod can also be used as a speakerphone with iPhone for crisp and clear audio quality. Apple started working on the HomePod before the first Echo was announced, Bloomberg has reported. The HomePod is aimed at a different tier to the Echo and Home. After this, users will need to launch the Watch app on their iPhone and head to the My Watch tab and then General Software Update. That's something Google and Amazon's speakers can now do. For more information visit the Apple website.

Where Apple is trying to standout from the competition is with the quality of its speaker system and design. Some watchOS beta testers have reported that the update basically makes the navigation in the redesigned Workouts app faster. It is unclear if HomePod will be compatible with other music services such as Spotify. Sorry, Apple, Alexa already moved in. And it has strong ties with app developers thanks to its App Store.

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