HomePod release date could be as early as February

It's all been a little quiet on the HomePod front since Apple abruptly announced that its new smart speaker wouldn't be arriving in December 2017 as it had previously announced. 

But now new information from one of Apple's HomePod suppliers, Inventec, suggests that shipments of the speaker could start as early as February

The news is supported by previous Apple statements that the speaker would see a release in 'early 2018'

Inventec, which is one of the two suppliers alongside Foxconn Technology Group, also revealed that it estimates initial sales of the speaker will reach 10 million units. 

A pricey voice assistant

Apple is a little later to the smart speaker game than its main two rivals, Amazon and Google, and the HomePod also commands a pretty large price premium over their competing speakers. 

The HomePod is set to cost $349 when it releases in the US, compared to $130 for a Google Home and the $99 Amazon Echo. Pricing for other territories has yet been announced, but we can expect the premium to be similarly large. 

But the company is hoping that the promise of better sound quality, not to mention integration with the rest of the Apple ecosystem, will be enough to win over consumers, even as both Amazon and Google make audio upgrades of their own with the Amazon Echo Plus and Google Home Max respectively. 

However, it's not yet clear whether Siri will be up to the job of competing with Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant, which have both seen massive improvements since their initial smart speaker releases. 

Jon Porter

Jon Porter is the ex-Home Technology Writer for TechRadar. He has also previously written for Practical Photoshop, Trusted Reviews, Inside Higher Ed, Al Bawaba, Gizmodo UK, Genetic Literacy Project, Via Satellite, Real Homes and Plant Services Magazine, and you can now find him writing for The Verge.