It needs more time to refine its first smart speaker.
We hope you weren't counting on giving (or getting) a HomePod for the holidays -- Apple has delayed the release of the Siri-powered speaker from December to early 2018. In a statement, the company said it needed a "little more time" before the device was ready for its initial release in Australia, the UK and the US. It's not yet clear how this will affect releases in other countries (we've asked the company if it can elaborate), but we wouldn't be surprised if it pushed back their releases slightly as well. They were already being asked to wait until early 2018.
You can read the full statement below.
While the exact reasons for the delay aren't clear, it's not completely surprising. This is Apple's first entry into the smart speaker realm, and it has to nail the experience if it's going to compete. At the same time, Apple is effectively ceding holiday sales to a wave of new higher-end speakers like Amazon's Echo Plus, Google's Home Max and the Sonos One. The HomePod isn't necessarily in trouble (Amazon and Sonos can only sell fully-featured devices in countries where Alexa works), but it may face a tougher battle than it did beforehand.
"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. We'll start shipping in the US, UK and Australia in early 2018."