HomePod delay clouds Apple’s smart speaker future

From CNET: Apple has given Amazon and Google an even bigger head start in the race to get smart speakers into your home.

The tech titan said Friday it's pushed back the launch of its first smart speaker, the HomePod, from sometime in December (no specific date was ever offered) to "early 2018" so it can finish work on the device.

Missing the critical holiday season is a blow to Apple. The company loses the opportunity to sell the HomePod to shoppers in a more buying mood and help it break into the young smart speaker market. The delay comes as both Amazon and Google roll out aggressive discounts during Black Friday and beyond for their respective family of smart speakers, potentially cutting down on prospective HomePod customers.

For consumers, it means one less choice, even if the $349 HomePod represents a much more expensive option than the Echo Dot or Google Home Mini, both about $50.

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