After facing multiple delays, tech giant Apple’s smart hi-fi speaker HomePod will be released in February.
“Apple’s delayed HomePod smart speaker to be launched ‘in the next 4-6 weeks’,” said a 9to5Mac report. However, it added that HomePod will face fierce competition in presence of Amazon Echo and Google Home products. HomePod will be reportedly priced at $349 whereas Amazon Echo is priced at $180 and Google Home costs $129.
Earlier, Apple’s HomePod had announced its launch in last year June. iPhone maker later in November said they need a little more time before it can release its smart speaker.
The Siri-powered smart speaker claims to take the music experience to the next level. Users can play music directly over WiFi or AirPlay from iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple TVs. It is the first smart music speaker after Apple launched iPod Hi-Fi in 2007, which was later discontinued.
Tech experts, who listened to an earlier version of HomePod, say that the sound part seems pretty good although not better than Amazon Echo. That may be the reason Apple has delayed the launch as it first looks to fine tune audio quality of HomePod for, what is now, a mature market. Over the years, Apple’s mantra has been ‘Don’t do it first, do it’.
US-based wealth management firm Raymond James conducted a survey on Apple HomePod- a wireless home speaker and found that 14 percent of iPhone users were interested in purchasing the product.
In July, Alibaba had entered the growing field of voice-controlled speakers for the home with the launch of Tmall Genie X1 at $73.42 price.
Contrary to virtual speakers market globally, India is price sensitive market especially for niche use cases and stationery products in homes.
Both Amazon and Google recently discounted their virtual assistant speakers. Amazon also is looking to tie up with traditional retailers like Croma and Reliance Digital to sell the devices.
With price as high as $349, things won’t be easy for Apple despite its popularity in the country.