Apple’s upcoming smart speaker, first announced last June, finally has a release date. And it’s soon.
HomePod will be available for online preorder from January 26 – that’s this Friday! – with the device available to purchase in-store two weeks later, from February 9. We’d expect that to also be the date the devices start shipping to those with preorders.
It’s an unusual move for Apple to announce a new product line this quietly, with no big launch event and no real information about new features since last Summer. However, today’s press release does at least shine a light on a few more of the speaker’s capabilities:
“HomePod supports third-party messaging apps, so users can ask Siri to send a message to a friend or colleague using apps like WhatsApp. Reminders, note-taking and to-do list apps like Things and Evernote will automatically work with HomePod, so Siri can set reminders, create a new list, mark items as complete, or create and modify notes.”
Though smart speakers from Google and Amazon have sold well after a long headstart, Apple will be hoping to grab a premium slice of that pie. Its Siri-powered device will likely sway users who are already invested in the Apple ecosystem and who value high-quality audio, integration with iCloud, and Apple’s approach to user privacy.
To begin with, the device will only be available to those in the US, the UK, and Australia, but it will roll out to other regions throughout the year. There is just the one configuration to choose from, though users can pick between a white or space gray finish. HomePod will cost $349 (£319 in the UK and A$499 in Australia) which is much more than its competitors, but as ever Apple is more concerned with quality than market share.
It’s unclear just how much initial stock will be available, and so if you’re interested in HomePod we’d recommend you put an order in as soon as preorders go live to avoid disappointment. You can do so from Apple’s website or from the Apple Store app on your iPhone or iPad.