Apple started working on its HomePod smart speaker back in 2012, one year after Siri debuted on the iPhone 4s, a new report claims.
Since then, the project was cancelled and restarted several times to reach its current point.
The in-depth story claims that, when the Amazon Echo first shipped, Apple engineers bought one to take apart to see how it was made. They concluded that the Echo’s sound quality was inferior and decided that they would have to build a better speaker.
The Speaker was originally a side project, designed to create a speaker to rival those made by companies like JBL, Harman Kardon, and Bose. It wasn’t until two years later, however, that HomePod got an official codename (B238), and was moved inside Apple’s accessories division — with an office in Valley Green 1, near to Apple’s headquarters.
Despite this, Apple reportedly “dithered” when coming up with a design, including prototyping one model that was 3 feet tall, and another that resembled a “flat panel with a mesh screen on the front.” It also considered different colors, and selling the finished product under the Beats brand name.
Apple reportedly plans to ship around 4 million HomePods in 2018, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. By comparison, Amazon has sold an estimated 15 million units since going on sale in 2015. Finally, the report claims that Apple may eventually add its own app ecosystem and support for competing music services.
The HomePod Siri-powered smart speaker was originally set to launch in December 2017, which would have made it one of the hottest gifts of the 2017 holiday season. Recently, though, Apple released a statement saying that the device will now not be shipping until early next year — although it did not specify why.
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