Apple delays release of HomePod until early 2018

An Apple spokesperson:

“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. We’ll start shipping in the US, UK and Australia in early 2018.”

I’m disappointed that HomePod won’t be released, but if it’s not ready, Apple is making the right decision. I would rather wait for a couple of months than have a product that’s not working properly.

  • lkalliance

    Not there yet, but this is the closest I remember “Apple” and “vaporware” being associated. I don’t think it will come to that, but this is a pretty bad happening.

    • Ha! No, Apple’s done worse in the past, though far enough back that the details are fuzzy to me now. Was it the Power Mac G4 that was delayed and ended up shipping both slower and more expensive than promised?

      Missing the holiday season is pretty bad, but this is definitely not the closest Apple’s come to vaporware. 🙂

      • john doofus

        Copland is the gold standard here.

        • That was such a debacle it slipped my mind! And remember Gershwin, which was very roughly The Release Right After Copland When The World Realized Copland Wouldn’t Solve World Hunger?

          • john doofus

            Those were the days. Copland, Gershwin, Taligent, OpenDoc, Dylan…

        • James Hughes

          Oh my god. I really had high hopes for that too. So long ago.

          • This discussion of Copland reminded me of vapourware down the path Apple did choose: Yellow Box for Windows, 64 bit Carbon. If there was a deep technical reason for dropping either, I never heard it. Which is not to say that they made a mistake.

      • Missing the holiday season is pretty bad

        Bad? It shifts revenue into a later reporting period. Arguably into a reporting period that “needs” revenue more than Apple’s holiday period, its biggest of the year.

        • Some of the revenue lost won’t be shifted, though, just lost.

          I don’t know what’s the net win to Apple.

          • We have to agree that it’s impossible to know how many potential customers will entirely pass on HomePod because Apple didn’t make it available before Christmas.

            We also have to agree that there’s a significant number of Apple customers who wouldn’t buy an Amazon or Google smart speaker even if HomePod never ships.

            This “delay” won’t hurt Apple in the slightest, IMHO.

          • Mo

            There are also a significant number of people who don’t consider themselves Apple customers at all—regardless of whether or not they own a Mac or an iPhone—who’ll simply go with the device that’s available now and seems to work in a fun way. Those are the revenues that will be lost.

          • Hate to be hard headed, but those sales were lost delay or no delay for similar reasons many buy non-iPhones. Hugely lower price points, “it’s not Apple”, etc.

            The Google Home speaker is $129. Amazon’s most expensive Echo speaker (no display) I could find is $99.

            Circling back, even a “ugely” successful HomePod isn’t going to move Apple’s revenue needle. This delay is mostly a non-story.

          • there’s always next christmas. if there are sales lost to this christmas but wouldn’t buy any other year, then those are small by definition. a solid product doesn’t depend on a single christmas. nor does apples bottom line.

          • We agree (see above).

      • Kriztyan

        What about the Power Mac G5, the first 64bit Mac with no 64bit software 😉

      • Tom_P

        You forgot white iPhone 4. That’s ‘merely’ a year late.

        • I did! One of my favorite bits of writing by Gruber was about that phone.

  • Alex Hon

    I have been on the fence to buy a combination of HomePods and Devialet Phantoms for my new home this holiday season. The question was how many and which version of Phantoms to buy.

    Since I don’t need to budget for the HomePods this winter, I’m going to splurge on a pair of Devialet Gold Phantoms as main living room speakers connected to Apple TV, while the HomePods will go into the bedrooms and home office whenever they come out. So at least I have the Phantoms to entertain the family this Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  • Scott Adams

    “Real artists ship.” — Steve Jobs

    I just can’t believe that these are that hard to manufacture at scale. I can’t even envision this product being in especially high demand. So, the delay would seem to be due to the voice/Siri component (which would be inexcusably incompetent at this point) or there’s a secret feature that is held up by regulators. If it were a factory issue, it seems like it would have leaked to the usual suspects by now.

    Apple is increasingly a one-trick pony in regards to strategy. Their greatest success pre-iPhone was a mass market audio device that hit every price point and a free software package for digital distribution of entertainment. Now, it’s just one Jony Ive museum piece after another for the high end of the market.

    • I’ll ignore the one-trick pony assessment.

      On delays, AirPods was delayed. The product shipped. It’s one of Apple’s best products in years.

      HomePod will ship. It will be well considered and well executed.

      Smart speakers are a niche. Even if HomePod is wildly successful it’ll barely be a blip on Apple’s financials.

      This Henny Penny about delays is empty.

      • john doofus

        I expect it will be well executed. I hope it will be as good as Airpods, which I agree are one of Apple’s best products in years. But it may be more like the Apple TV, which is reasonably well done but hardly stands out vs it’s (less expensive) competition.

        But pre-announcing by six months and then missing the date looks bad. Presumably the Airpod announcement was driven by the iPhone 7 release. The HomePod didn’t have similar pressures.

        • HomePod wasn’t formally announced, like, say, the iPhone X. It was revealed as a coming-soon product with no definitive timeline.

          • Alex Hon

            I thought they said December, which coincides with the iMac Pro launch timeframe.

            Speaking of which, now prospective HomePod shoppers have even more budget for iMac Pro’s!

          • You’re right. The graphic did say “Available December”.

            But Apple didn’t provide a hard date like it does for nearly all of their product announcements. I think that’s a distinction with a difference here.

          • Alex Hon

            Yea especially now when their “Early 2018” estimate, it sounds like even 6/29/2018 will still be “early” since it’s still the first half of 2018!

    • pvr4me

      Array of microphones; array of speakers: software dynamically adjusts to optimize sound in the room it finds itself in. Plus noise cancellation to pick out voice commands. Trivial. Piece of cake. Finished by lunch the first day, right?

      • Alex Hon

        Don’t forget having 2 of those in the same room talking to each other to provide an even fuller sound stage, at full blast, all while having Siri being able to make out what you are asking!

    • James Hughes

      Steve Jobs wasn’t saying real artists ship… on time. He was simply saying that Apple has ideas and they make good on them. Apple ships a product that they designed, invented, thought carefully about etc. Apple has always waited until the product is worthy of shipping even if it’s delayed. They want to get it right.

    • apple as a one trick pony is simply ignorance. the ipad does bigger numbers than most entire other corporations.

      nope. google is a one trick pony — web ads.

  • Kriztyan

    Good, because I don’t have the money 🙂

  • James Hughes

    I’m still on the fence about HomePod. I already have wired Cambridge Sopundworks downstairs and wired Bose speakers upstairs. I made them “wireless” by adding Bluetooth. I guess I’ll have to hear them in the Apple store and see. Anyone else with a similar setup that can chime in?

    • Mo

      Another Cambridge owner!

  • John Kordyback

    Well 💩. I was looking forward to this.

  • Any chance the delay is due to them adding a couple of features beyond what was announced? It might be a good idea considering the price point and features of other similar products.