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HomePod to launch on February 9

Apple HomePod Review: Apple, is this all you've got?

Although Amazon and Google are current leaders in the market, that fact could very well change as Apple's HomePod smart speaker, which was announced on June 2017, has been given a release date, set for February 9, 2019.

Apple first unveiled the HomePod - its first ever smart speaker - in June of a year ago, with an original release date of December.

Apple originally meant to release the smart speaker system by the end of 2017, but the company delayed production in mid-December, according to The Verge. Siri will be able to send messages, become an iPhone speakerphone, set timers and reminders, and allow users to listen to the news, check the weather and control smart home devices connected to Apple's HomeKit.

Not only is HomePod support touted to be a major part of the iOS 11.2.5 update, Apple has also added features to Siri.

At the HomePod's current price point, Apple is avoiding the cheap smart speaker market, where it would face direct competition with Google's Home and Amazon's Echo. Moreover, we've also often seen how voice assistants are more advanced in competitors' devices (excluding Bixby - sorry Samsung) and how they're better equipped to respond to users' requests.

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Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, said: "This is a critically important device for Apple given the significant head start Amazon and Google have in this area".

Concerning news and current affairs, Apple has linked Siri to a suite of local outlets, including; ABC NEWS, SBS News, SEVEN NEWS and FOX SPORTS News. Apple chose to price its HomePod at a premium $349. Apple's $349 smart speakers were initially scheduled to launch last December. But like we said, the HomePod is pretty expensive if you factor in speakers offered by other tech companies. There is a chance for either companies and hackers to take advantage of the information that these smart speakers receive.

With SiriKit, HomePod can follow commands linked to third-party messaging apps. Expect HomePod to be priced near $500 CAD or so when it launches in Canada, hopefully sometime in 2018 if we're lucky.

Apple is counting on HomePod to boost subscriptions to Apple Music and block the rise of rival Spotify.

Apple also says later this year they will include a free software update, where users will be able to play music throughout the house with multi-room audio.

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