Apple Finally Announces Release Date For HomePod And Releases More Spectre And Meltdown Fixes

Image: Apple

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.


Comments

    So not only is it more expensive than the competition, it has less features and is locked into the Apple ecosystem.

    I guess thats pretty standard for Apple.

    But are anyone but the Apple diehards going to care enough to buy this? I picked up a Google Home, 2 Google Home Minis and a Chromecast Audio for around $250 over the Christmas period, and they allow me to use Spotify for music, and mostly work with IOS too (of course you cant cast anything from the Apple software suite, but Spotify casts no problem from IOS devices.

    They are going to have to make it more feature rich quickly, because the Google Home Max will blow it out of the water when it comes out if they dont, pretty much everyone I know got at least 1 Google home device (home or mini) for Christmas. And a lot of people like to stick with something once they buy into it.

      But are anyone but the Apple diehards going to care enough to buy this? I picked up a Google Home, 2 Google Home Minis and a Chromecast Audio for around $250 over the Christmas period, and they allow me to use Spotify for music, and mostly work with IOS too (of course you cant cast anything from the Apple software suite, but Spotify casts no problem from IOS devices.

      It depends on what you want. Sound quality is going to be the decider for me, and as for being 'feature rich' a lot of the time the excess of features tend to get in the way with some companies implementations.

      a lot of people like to stick with something once they buy into it.

      You mean like Apple diehards? ;^)

      In all seriousness, this is not meant to be any competition for a Google mini, just like the iPhones aren't competition for a $300 phone. It is more competition for the higher model Sonos etc. and in that space it will be the audio quality that will make or break it.

      The other big plus for me is privacy, I'm not keen on Google or Amazon mining my life, so I steer clear of those products, Apple seems to be the only major company that isn't using their customers as product at the moment, and that is a big plus for me personally.

      The lack of multi-room speaker functionality is a big miss for Apple.
      Yes and no, multi-room is coming, so while it is annoying it isn't there day one, I don't think that will deter people too much as it will be updated. I'd rather it come later and work, that have a flaky implementation available now. The other products other than Sonos don't do it very well.

        I'm not keen on Google or Amazon mining my life, so I steer clear of those products, Apple seems to be the only major company that isn't using their customers as product at the moment, and that is a big plus for me personally.

        This is true I guess, but on the flip side, they are pushing it for music, and the only supported music service is Apple Music, which requires a subscription, I'm guessing they will also support airplay for playing music from other iDevices which might make the device compatible with other services via that route.

        But I don't believe for a second that they aren't doing a big chunk of data mining on their customers, they just aren't using that data like Google and Amazon which are first and foremost an Advertising company and an eCommerce company respectively.

        At least not yet.....

      Don’t be shocked when the police start asking Google and Amazon for the voice data they collect.

      Very good speakers are expensive. We will find out in a couple of weeks if they deserve to be called very good.

    So not only is it more expensive than the competition, it has less features and is locked into the Apple ecosystem.
    because the Google Home Max will blow it out of the water when it comes out if they dont,

    The Google Max is USD50 more than the Apple product, and the Sonos 5 is USD150 more expensive than the Apple product in this case. You can find cheaper units than the homepod, but you can find a lower quality cheaper phone than an S8 but it doesn't mean the Sammy is more expensive than its competitors.

    The Google Max is USD50 more than the Apple product, and the Sonos 5 is USD150 more expensive than the Apple product in this case

    Good point, and I probably should have looked up the price of the Google home max before spouting off gut feelings.

    Having said that, if the GMax and the Homepod offer similar sound quality (which remains to be seen) but the features that the Homepod is currently lacking aren't added quick enough, the I'm not sure that being 50 bucks cheaper will be enough to make the Homepod stand out. Of course I'm no expert in any of this stuff so this is purely opinion

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