Apple may have already lost a major share in the smart speaker market as it delayed its first ever smart speakers, HomePods from last month to early this year.
Market leaders Amazon.com Inc. and Alphabet Inc. continued to sell Echo and Google Home devices during the holidays, while Apple worked on a rival product it said wasn't ready for sale. France and Germany are next in line in the spring.
Apple says the voice-powered device will work with Apple Music, giving access to one of the largest music libraries in the world.More news: House Ethics Committee member used taxpayer money to settle sexual misconduct complaint
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There are also touch controls on top, so you can still control some HomePod features without using your voice.
Apple will take your money (please and thank you) starting this Friday, Jan. 26 if you are so inclined to preorder its $349 speaker. The two now dominate the smart speaker market, putting the newcomer at a disadvantage. Dubbed a "magical new music experience", the 7-inch speaker is packed with a seven-array beam-forming tweeter array and a high-excursion subwoofer to deliver rich, robust sound.
The HomePod will retail at a price of $349 in the U.S. and it will come in white and space grey colour options. But like we said, the HomePod is pretty expensive if you factor in speakers offered by other tech companies.
To answer the question mentioned at the article's outset, it's highly unlikely the HomePod will be a failure. The company back then promised the HomePod's launch in December but it didn't see the light.
It's not even yet 100% clear whether you'll get stereo performance from two speakers before the update. "It brings advanced audio technologies like beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer and automatic spatial awareness, together with the entire Apple Music catalog and the latest Siri intelligence, in a simple, lovely design that is so much fun to use", Philip Schiller, senior vice president of global marketing for Apple, said in a release. Online reports suggest that the HomePod will not require an Apple Music subscription to stream music from the service; it can also stream purchased iTunes music, podcasts, and Beats 1 tracks.