Apple Delays Release of HomePod Smart Speaker: 'We Need a Little More Time'

The HomePod speaker photographed at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference on June 5, 2017 in San Jose, Calif.
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

The HomePod speaker photographed at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference on June 5, 2017 in San Jose, Calif.

Saying it needs "a little more time" before it's ready, Apple has delayed the release of the tech giant's much-anticipated HomePod smart speaker until after the holidays. The speaker was announced in June at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference and is priced at $349.

The HomePod had been scheduled to ship in December, in time to compete with the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Sonos during the holiday speaker shopping rush. That will have to wait until "early" next year, though the company did not give a specific date for the eventual release.

"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," the company said in a statement on Friday. "We'll start shipping in the US, UK and Australia in early 2018."

Information about the speaker has been dripping out since its unveiling in June. On an earnings call on Aug. 1, the HomePod was said to have “incredible sound unlike any on the market" and is designed to work especially well with an Apple Music subscription -- an emphasis that has led to speculation that it won't support third party apps. The company notably didn't mention the HomePod during its big product special event in September, instead focusing on new iPhones and a music-friendly Apple Watch.