With competition from other smart speakers heating up, it was starting to seem as though Apple was never going release its HomePod. Today, though, Apple announced that the highly anticipated speaker will hit shelves on February 9.
Pre-orders will begin on January 26 for users in the US, the UK and Australia. The new release date falls in line with other clues we’ve been seeing that point to an imminent release, such as approval from the US Federal Communications Commission.
But here’s the catch. As Engadget discovered, the device will ship without multi-room audio or stereo pairing. Both features come standard with many existing smart speaker setups, and stereo pairing would have been the optimal way to get the most out of the HomePod’s technology, which adjusts to the spaces around it.
In Apple’s case, multi-room audio uses Apple’s AirPlay 2 protocol, which provides an easy way to make the same music play in various room of a house or office. Most importantly for launch sales, it would have given HomePod enthusiasts plenty of incentive to buy multiple devices.
In fact, the features were originally listed along with the bulk of the HomePod’s other offerings …read more
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