Apple's HomePod is probably going to launch any day now

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Apple’s answer to the Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers, the HomePod, is almost ready for launch.

After missing its release last year, the $350 smart speaker has now been approved for sale by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which means Apple will probably start selling it very soon.

Following its delayed launch, Apple said it “needed a little more time” to get HomePod ready for customers.

Apple said HomePod would start shipping the U.S., UK, and Australia “in early 2018”. Well, it’s early 2018, and everyone’s still waiting for the Siri-powered speaker to show up.  Read more…

More about Apple, Siri, Fcc, Smart Home, and Homekit


Apple's HomePod smart speaker gains FCC approval; launch could be imminent

Amazon and Google made good use of the delay that forced Apple to push back the launch of its HomePod smart speaker from December to sometime early this year. Echo and Home devices helped smart speakers have a very Merry Christmas and Chanukah. The relatively new product (first launched worldwide in 2015) accounted for 7% of gifts handed out this holiday season in the states.

Without Apple’s high-end HomePod out of the way, both Amazon and Google had a clear playing field. While Microsoft’s Invoke was available, along with a few other competitors, the top two smart speaker manufacturers …

Siri's "Give me the news" feature is out of beta indicating an upcoming launch of the Apple HomePod

A recent feature that allows Apple’s virtual assistant Siri to respond to a request to “Give me the news” with a few minutes of top stories, is now out of beta. In the states, the default newscast comes from NPR’s News Now podcast, which is also where Amazon’s Alexa has been getting her news from. It is interesting that Apple is now adding some Alexa-style capabilities to Siri in anticipation of the company’s release of its HomePod smart speaker. After all, Alexa became popular thanks to its placement on Amazon’s top selling Echo smart speaker product.

A screenshot from an Apple iPhone shows …

Analysts see uphill climb for Apple HomePod as Amazon and Google rule smart speaker market

2017 was the first year that smart speakers became extremely popular as Christmas and Chanukah gifts. Amazon, who created the category in 2015 with the Amazon Echo, has a huge lead in market share over Google and its Google Home series. This past holiday shopping season saw both Amazon and Google fight over market share by cutting the price on their low-end smart speaker. Combined, both firms have a large lead in smart speaker market share.

During the holidays, the Amazon Echo Dot and the Google Home Mini were both priced at $29. Both were about $50 prior to the sale. Amazon’s cost to produce …

Apple releases iOS 11.2.1 to restore a feature on the unreleased HomePod

Back on December 2nd, a crazy bug was causing certain iPhone models powered by iOS 11.1.2 to continuously crash in a loop. The models with this problem were receiving preset local notifications from certain apps. Apple was forced to rectify the issue by disseminating iOS 11.2 about a week early in order to kill the bug. There were some other goodies involved in the update including three new live wallpapers for the iPhone X, support for faster 7.5W wireless charging on compatible iPhone models, enhanced stabilization for video recording and Apple Pay Cash.

Today, another bug forced Apple …

Apple expects to ship 4 million units of its HomePod smart speaker in 2018

Apple was originally expected to launch its HomePod smart speaker next month, priced at $349. The combination premium speaker and virtual assistant (in this case, Siri) is now expected to come to market early in 2018. In announcing the delay, Apple said that while it wanted everyone to experience the HomePod, “we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers.” 

The smart speaker category was created by Amazon which combined the Alexa virtual assistant with a speaker to create the Amazon Echo. The product can report the latest weather forecast, stock prices, sports scores, …

Apple pushes back its HomePod launch until "early" 2018

If you were planning on purchasing the Apple HomePod next month, you are going to have to wait. In a statement released today, Apple says that while it can’t wait for people to use the smart speaker, “we need a little more time until its ready for customers.” The device was scheduled to launch sometime next month, priced at $349. Apple now says that the launch will take place early next year.

The Apple HomePod is designed to be a premium version of the smart speaker device first created by Amazon with the Amazon Echo. In its most basic form, the product couples a speaker with a virtual assistant. …

Apple HomePod manufacturer sees facial recognition eventually coming to smart speakers

The company that assembles Apple’s HomePod smart speaker, Inventec Appliances, said last week that it expects features offered by 3D-sensing cameras to eventually be available on smart speakers. That would include facial and image recognition that could make the product “more convenient and…easier to use,” according to Inventec Appliances president David Ho. The executive did say that he isn’t sure that a smart speaker with AI would be in demand by consumers.

While Ho didn’t mention Apple’s HomePod by name, he did say that Inventec Appliances is also producing a voice enabled smart speaker …

Released today, the first beta of iOS 11.2 includes SiriKit for developers to use with HomePod

Today, Apple released the first developer beta for iOS 11.2, even though iOS 11.1 is still in beta. This update makes SiriKit available to developers to use to integrate their apps with Apple’s upcoming HomePod smart speaker. Apple is requesting that those writing apps for HomePod check to make sure that their SiriKit integration is up-to-date, and that the voice-only experience for their app is working. This is tested by plugging headphones into a developer’s iOS device using the iOS 11.2 beta.

Like with any smart speaker, uses can request information from the virtual assistant that is …

Apple HomePod surfaces in California and China during employee testing of the smart speaker?

Apple’s version of the smart speaker, the Apple HomePod, is expected to be launched in December. Apple is hoping that the launch doesn’t come too late to capture some holiday sales. The device, made up of a speaker and the virtual personal assistant Siri, will take on the product that created the category, the Alexa-powered Amazon Echo. Other smart speakers that will compete with the HomePod include the Google Home, the upcoming Cortana powered Microsoft Invoke, the just announced Sony smart speaker (powered by Google Assistant) and a unit being prepped by Samsung that will include AI assistant …