Taking on Amazon and Google turns out to be harder than Apple thought

Apple’s $350 HomePod was meant to be a premium smart speaker that would do battle with the likes of Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home Max for your holiday dollars. Unfortunately for the Cupertino-based outfit, that will not come to fruition as it announced that the HomePod would be delayed until early 2018.

According to Apple’s statement, the company needs a bit more time to better the HomePod:

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.

Apple didn’t provide a reason for the delay, but keep in mind that this is the company’s first foray into the world of smart speakers, so it probably wants to make as good of a first impression as possible.

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It also doesn’t help that, since the HomePod’s unveiling back in June, the playing field has gotten somewhat crowded. Amazon, for example, unveiled the Echo and Echo Plus, both of which are available for purchase. Google’s $399 Home Max, meanwhile, still appears in line for a December launch, with the company currently selling its regular Home and smaller Home Mini smart speakers. We also shouldn’t forget the offerings from third-party companies like Sonos, Sony, and JBL, just to name a few.

We’ll be sure to keep tabs on the HomePod once it lands sometime in early 2018. Until then, make sure to check out our comparison of the HomePod, Google Home, and Amazon Echo to see, at least on paper, how they stack up against each other.