Apple has postponed the release of its HomePod Smart Speaker until 2018. As per the electronics giant, the device still needed development work.
The HomePod was due to be released in December this year. Apple is expecting that the HomePod would be ready to go on shop shelves in the US, UK and Australia “early in 2018”.
This is a failure in its plans to take on rivals Amazon and Google in the growing market for home devices that use AI to help consumers.
In a statement given in the media, Apple said the wireless speaker needed “a little more time before it’s ready for our customers”.
This delay will make Apple to miss the lucrative holiday season during which many consumers buy gadgets as gifts.
The HomePod smart speaker was first unveiled in June this year when Apple said it would go on sale in the US for $349 (£265). In the UK it was expected to cost £350.
Apple has designed HomePod to be a competitor to other smart speakers – such as Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Assistant. Sonos, Microsoft and others also make similar gadgets.
Like other gadgets HomePod was designed to play music and act as a hands-free helper letting owners set timers, maintain shopping lists and get reports about the news, weather and other subjects.
Since Apple unveiled the HomePod both Google and Amazon have added new models to their ranges of smart speakers, intensifying the competition with Apple.
Writing in Engadget, associate editor Jon Fingle said the delay was “not surprising” given that the HomePod was Apple’s first try at a smart speaker.
He further added, “The HomePod isn’t necessarily in trouble, but it may face a tougher battle than it did beforehand.”