Everything You Need To Know About Apple's HomePod

Leigh Mccormick
January 25, 2018

Apple sent out a press release on Tuesday announcing that its $349 HomePod smart speaker will be available for pre-order starting Friday, Jan 26.

The device appears to be similar to the one unveiled at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference previous year, which put an emphasis on music and sound quality, rather than on Siri or a virtual assistant. The update brings a slew of new features, including support for Apple's forthcoming smart speaker, dubbed HomePod. HomePod will be on sale initially in the US, UK, and Australia with France and Germany getting it later this spring. This will allow Apple's intelligent personal assistant, Siri, to respond any time a user delivers voice commands.

Siri on HomePod can be used to send messages, set timers, reminders, check weather, listen to podcasts, etc. HomePod can also be used as a speakerphone with iPhone, says Apple. However, the tech giant chose to move the HomePod's release to early 2018.

The Apple HomePod has a woofer that is designed by Apple.

Apple's HomePod is being pitched not just as a smart speaker, but also a high-end audio device for customers.

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When it was first unveiled last winter, the HomePod's main marketing advantage was its allegedly superior audio quality. Amazon invented the category in 2015 with its line of Echo speakers, and there are now similar options available from Google and Microsoft. If early demand spikes, however - as it did for its AirPods speakers - users could wind up waiting much longer than that to receive it (depending on production yields, of course). The company also confirmed customers will be able to pre-order the HomePod online starting January 26.

The Apple HomePod is set to be sold for $369 in its launch markets. Despite this, the device missed its December launch date. Unofficially, that is roughly £247 in the United Kingdom and €282 in the eurozone, but Apple ultimately prices its devices according to each market.

Apple is working to keep its Siri voice assistant relevant in the face of competition from Amazon's Alexa and Alphabet's Google Assistant, both of which are featured on smart speakers from those companies.

HomePod support will make it possible to control hundreds of affiliated home accessories such as thermostats, security systems, intelligent lights - you name it.

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