The HomePod is coming in at a tricky time for Apple. The HomePod is also capable of controlling other devices and appliances that have been equipped with Apple's HomeKit. HomePod can turn on the lights, raise the shades, set the desired temperature or make other adjustments and serves as the flawless home hub, enabling remote access and automations. So, you could update your WhatsApp group by hollering "Hey Siri" from the shower.
Initially, the HomePod's microphones would always be turned on. According to Apple, "if HomePod is in the kitchen, users can ask Siri to play jazz in the dining room, or play the same song in each room - perfectly in sync". Even then there would be anonymous ID and encryption to protect users' privacy. Similar to competitors, Apple says two HomePods can be used in a stereo configuration, while multiple HomePods can be used for multi-room audio playback, but only after an update due later this year.
A more minor question - but one that may still matter to some buyers - is whether Apple will offer additional colors further down the road? We now have confirmation from Apple on the smart speaker's release date. Apple also didn't disclose Apple TV sales numbers, but estimates indicate they sit somewhere around 125 million.
Officially, HomePod will set you back $349 in the US. However, recent approval from the United States telecoms regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), should bring it a step closer to release, expected Q1 2018, in the US, the United Kingdom and Australia. But Apple, the company that began selling computers offline, arguably rivals Amazon in e-commerce (did you ever ponder how many credit cards iTunes/Apple Music has in its repository?) and was one of the first companies to make voice-based AI widespread by putting Siri on the iPhone 4S in 2011.
Here are the essentials that you need to know about the HomePod launch... Back in November nearly 60% of readers said they would be buying one. Apple HomePod will go on sale february 9 in the United States, the UK and Australia.
Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, said: "This is a critically important device for Apple given the significant head start Amazon and Google have in this area". The HomePod can detect its surroundings to provide the best sound quality. People can give voice commands to request basic helping chores such as setting alarms, writing down a to-do list, setting up reminders or even telling a joke.