Theresa Payton: Apple to Release New HomePod Next Month

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The HomePod was announced back in June 2017 at Apple's WWDC conference, where it stood out as a potential Google Home and Amazon Alexa competitor.

Good news for those of you who are in the United States, UK and Australia: the HomePod will be released there first, on February 9th, and it can be preordered beginning on January 26th. Apple says HomePod will "automatically analyses the acoustics, adjusts the sound based on the speaker's location, and separates the music into direct and ambient sound". The tech giant later confirmed that it will start shipping in the US, UK and Australia in early 2018.

The Apple HomePod has a woofer that is designed by Apple. France and Germany are next in line in the spring. Its hockey puck-sized Echo Dot is estimated to account for more than half of Amazon's speaker unit sales, largely because of its lower price, which dropped to $30 during the holidays before rising to $50.

The new update also includes a feature that enables Siri to read you the news across several categories, out loud.

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With that said, Cook appears to be very confident in the listening experience on Apples incoming HomePod. "It brings advanced audio technologies like beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer and automatic spatial awareness, together with the entire Apple Music catalog and the latest Siri intelligence, in a simple, attractive design that is so much fun to use", said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

A more minor question - but one that may still matter to some buyers - is whether Apple will offer additional colors further down the road?

In terms of dimensions, the Apple HomePod is around 7-inches tall (6.8-inches to be exact) and 5.6 inches wide and weighs 2.5 kg. Last week, International Business Times reported that the HomePod was delayed because Apple still needed time for "fine-tuning" the device's software and hardware integration. For example, the device comes with spatial awareness, which allows the speaker to adapt the music depending on where it's placed in your room - just like the Google Home Max.

HomePod can be used as a speakerphone, routing calls through a paired iPhone nearby. Until Apple makes Siri smarter - and integrates it better with other apps - you might as well just buy a $50 Amazon Echo Dot and connect it to an awesome Bluetooth speaker. We always knew the device would be controlled by Siri and integrated directly with Apple Music while supporting voice control for smart-home devices using HomeKit. When it does hear the command, it sends an anonymous Siri ID to Apple to fulfill your request, and all communication is encrypted.

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