Surprise, surprise, turns out Apple's debut foray into the world of voice assistant-enabled speakers isn't quite living up to the company's initial expectations. According to a Bloomberg report, the company has lowered the number of HomePods being manufactured by one of its partners, Inventec Corporation and is looking to make a second smart speaker, one a bit less expensive than its current $499 offering.
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Video: Her, the Oscar-nominated film about a future world in which people disconnect from reality and form emotional connections with their virtual assistants, seems more timely every day. And apparently, someone at Apple thought it would be a good idea for Her's director, Spike Jonze, to make a pseudo-prequel to sell the HomePod.
It seems like every new wireless speaker on the market comes with a voice assistant now. Since 2014, when Amazon announced the Echo, the idea of a smart speaker has taken the gadget world by storm. Apple has finally thrown its hat into the ring with the release of the HomePod, leaving us to wonder which smart speaker is the best smart speaker. So we tested them to find out.
It only took one day - one freaking day! - for someone to capitalise on the bizarre news that Apple's $499 HomePod, the speaker that isn't so smart but sounds pretty great, might wreck your wood furniture. That someone is gadget accessories maker Pad and Quill, and we are just as blown away/totally unsurprised as you are.
While it produces fantastic audio, Apple's new HomePod smart speaker has also annoyed early users with obtuse software limitations, a lack of real Bluetooth connectivity, and missing multi-room playback support that won't come until later this year. And now there's one more irritation to add to that list, as it seems the HomePod can damage your wood furniture.
Sometimes, years pass before Apple creates a completely new product like the HomePod. During that parade of iPhone redesigns and MacBook upgrades, it can be easy to forget that when Apple enters a new space, the company does it with swagger. The products are beautiful. They work well. But they are also usually exclusively designed to work with other Apple products and services. The $449 HomePod is all of these things, and it drives me crazy.
When unexplained delays pushed Apple's smart speaker back from a 2017 debut, Apple said it needed "a little more time before it's ready" and promised an "early 2018" release. Now it seems Apple is making good on its revised launch window, as the HomePod will officially go on sale on February 9.
Look, I don't really care about Apple's upcoming HomePod because even though it might sound fantastic, I'm not convinced I need to drop a few hundred dollars on yet another smart speaker. Even so, I appreciate a job well done, no matter how small, and the person or people responsible for the status sounds for the HomePod have created some of the most relaxing little tunes found on any device yet.
Apple doesn't release new products very often, but when it does, people pay attention. In fact, it's probably safe to say that the gadget gurus at Sony were taking notes. The Japanese company just announced two products that could safely be called ripoffs of Apple's newest products: a slick set of wireless earbuds and a smart home speaker.
It's no secret Sonos is working on a smart speaker to rival products such as Amazon's Echo and Apple's HomePod. Last year, Sonos laid off a number of staff while simultaneously announcing a new shift in focus to help the company "remain innovative and successful". But jumping on the digital assistant bandwagon hasn't been easy, as the company's current integration with Amazon Alexa devices isn't exactly what you'd call straightforward.
If you had any doubts about Apple releasing a bezel-free iPhone in September, you can probably throw those out the window. The company just pushed out a version of the HomePod firmware, and not only does the code tell us more about how Apple's smart speaker will work, it also offers a few clues about the next iPhone.
The crowd cheered in California this morning, when Apple announced HomePod, a new smart speaker armed with Siri, the company's virtual assistant. Minutes later, an image of the product appeared on Apple's website and, well, holy crap, it looks just like HAL 9000! Is Apple screwing with us?