Apple today announced that the HomePod smart speaker will no longer be made available this year, but rather in early 2018. Missing the holidays could be a major setback for the smart speaker, which will compete with Amazon’s Echo series, Google’s Home series, and other several other smart speakers on the market. Though the smart speaker market is relatively new, the holiday season is traditionally the biggest time of year for sales.
“We can’t wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple’s breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers,” Apple said in a statement Friday. “We’ll start shipping in the US, UK and Australia in early 2018.”
Apple first debuted the HomePod in June at its annual WWDC developer conference. At that time, Apple said the smart speaker would go on sale by the end of 2017 for $349. Once it becomes available, the HomePod with Siri inside will be able to do the sorts of things other AI assistants in smart speakers are able to do, like play music, set reminders, and control smart home devices.
VentureBeat reached out to Apple for more information on the cause of the delay, but a company spokesperson declined to comment.