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Apple delays HomePod

Echo rival now not expected until 2018

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Apple has pushed back the release of its smart speaker, the Home Pod — now saying the device isn't expected until next year.

The company's late to market smart speaker is meant to be a rival to Amazon's Echo and Google Home. But the Cupertino, CA-based Apple says the device needs a little more tinkering.

"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," Apple said in a statement. "We'll start shipping in the US, UK and Australia in early 2018."

Apple first unveiled HomePod in June, during the company's two-hour marathon WorldWide Developers Conference. Pricing the smart speaker at $349 pushed it into the higher-end of pricing for smart speaker devices. But Apple is hardly uncomfortable occupying that space, with the iPhone X and its $999 starting price tag as evidence.

Apple has already come under fire for issues with the iPhone X, including trouble operating the screen in cold weather and hacks of its new security system Face ID.

The push back for HomePod means Apple will miss holiday sales — and thousands of people buying their first voice-enabled speaker. Google's Home Max, priced at $399, is still expected to be available by year's end.

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