Apple says their new HomePod smart speaker will be available on 9 February 2018 with pre-orders opening this Saturday. The HomePod has come quite a bit later than expected but with some functionality to come after the initial release. And the company also dropped a number of software updates overnight that patch older versions of macOS/OS X against Spectre and Meltdown as well as addressing other problems right across their full suite of operating systems.
HomePod will sting you a hefty $499 with multi-room functionality coming later this year in the form of a free software update.
Siri on the HomePod will support a bunch of features such as integration with HomeKit as well as the ability to set reminders, play news podcasts from ABC NEWS, SBS News, SEVEN NEWS and FOX SPORTS News, as well as work as a speakerphone for your iPhone. App developers can integrate with the HomePod by employing the SiriKit framework.
The lack of multi-room speaker functionality is a big miss for Apple. The HomePod is already playing catch up wth the likes for Google and Amazon. Leaving out this feature means they will miss on sales from those looking for a decent multi-room audio system.
The news-reading feature also comes to iOS devices via the iOS 11.2.5 update that was recently pushed out. tvOS and watchOS also received updates overnight.
While macOS High Sierra received its Spectre and Meltdown patches last week, those holding onto older versions of Apple's desktop and notebook system will see updates come through today. macOS Sierra and El Capitan both get their fixes while some further tweaking of the High Sierra patches has also been released.