Apple recently received FCC approval for the HomePod, signaling that the company’s highly anticipated smart speaker — which has been delayed for quite a few weeks now — may finally hit store shelves in the near future. Apple, it’s worth noting, was required to submit the HomePod for FCC approval because the device incorporates wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi.
Though the FCC filing doesn’t reveal any new or juicy tidbits about the HomePod, the fact that the documents released by the FCC are from September strongly suggests that there haven’t been any major hardware changes to the HomePod, if any, over the past few months. Indeed, this jibes with previous reports which attributed the HomePod delay to software kinks Apple was still trying to work through.
Originally unveiled this past June at WWDC, Apple initially said that the HomePod would launch sometime in December of 2017. Come November, Apple announced that the HomePod launch was being pushed back to sometime in early 2018, with the company providing no specific details regarding the delay.
Priced at $349, Apple’s HomePod certainly isn’t cheap, especially compared to rival smart speakers from the likes of Amazon and Google. Nonetheless, Apple is positioning the HomePod as a speaker with premium acoustics that competitors won’t be able to match.
Interestingly enough, we’ve since learned that Apple’s work on the HomePod began all the way back in 2014. In fact, a Bloomberg piece on the HomePod’s development reveals that Apple engineers were completely caught off guard when Amazon released its Echo smart speaker in November of that year.
“The Apple engineers jokingly accused one another of leaking details of their project to Amazon, then bought Echos so they could take them apart and see how they were put together,” the report notes. “They quickly deemed the Echo’s sound quality inferior and got back to work building a better speaker.
Now, more than three years later, we’ll soon find out if the wait was worth it.