Apple’s HomePod is set to arrive sometime in ‘early 2018’ after missing its promised December ship date. Based on Apple’s definition of ‘early’ in the year, we can expect HomePod to go on sale any day between now and the end of April.
The smart speaker landscape has changed dramatically since HomePod’s unveil last June however. Missing the holiday quarter certainly wasn’t ideal for Apple, but the real shift is new competition from products that offer similar solutions to HomePod.
The market for HomePod with its premium price and limited skill set would be a challenge for Apple with just one of those factors, but combine the delay with new competitors and the challenge is only amplified: lower prices, wider compatibility, and a late entry to the market will make the $349 Siri-enabled speaker a tougher sell for Apple without a refocused pitch.