May 20, 2018

Apple HomePod Features Revealed Ahead of February 9 Launch

27 January 2018, 07:21 | Rudolph Thomas

Apple HomePod Review: Apple, is this all you've got?

HomePod Icons

It will initially be available in the USA, the United Kingdom and Australia and later "this spring" in France and Germany.

Apple's HomePod wireless speaker will officially launch next month.

Like other smart speakers on the market, the Apple HomePod can do a number of things beyond playing music via Apple Music.

The tech giant revealed that its latest design in home audio will hit shelves on february 9 with pre-orders for the device opening this Friday, Jan. 26 to those in the USA, U.K., and Australia.

Through Apple's HomeKit service, the device can be used to control various functions from thermostats to lights.

Meanwhile, Apple's iPhone X isn't breaking sales records established by previous models of the smartphone, according to a study from Canalys cited by Fortune.

Numerous devices sold, however, have been at the low end of the market (Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot).

First announced at WWDC past year, the HomePod is Apple's first stab at the Amazon and Google-dominated smart speaker market. Google as well have their similar home speakers and later also introduced a louder Max speaker aimed at the HomePod. Apple said those features will come later this year in a software update.

Apple also will need to expand the HomePod's functionality with more features from Siri, such as voice-based food ordering or ride hailing.

The bin-like speaker was originally set to ship in time for Christmas, but Apple was forced to push back the release date, saying it "needs a little more time before it's ready for our customers". Amazon and Google's devices let users give voice commands to play Spotify, but Apple Music doesn't work on rival devices, adding an element of exclusivity that could frustrate some consumers. Apple's SiriKit is intended for developers to create apps that are compatible with the company's digital assistant.

HomePod is said to deliver stunning audio quality wherever it's placed - in any room and will play any style of music on your command. Instead of promoting Siri integration Apple chose to focus on audio quality, which positions the device more as a Sonos competitor.

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