Apple releases iOS 11.2.5, watchOS 4.2.2, tvOS 11.2.5 updates

Apple's Siri-based home speaker, the HomePod made its debut at WWDC (Worldwide Developer Conference) in June 2017.

The tech giant says it will release the highly anticipated device in stores on February 9.

The smart speaker will arrive in France and Germany this spring.

Measuring 7 inches tall, the cylindrical HomePod is created to integrate with Apple Music, allowing users to call up songs and other music information with voice commands through Siri. Users will be able to control smart home devices through the HomePod and ask Siri for weather forecasts, sports scores, and other information. It comes in either white or space grey. The pre-orders will first open in US, UK and Australia and it will later hit the stores. You will be able to pair two HomePods for the ultimate sound experience, although this feature might not be available in the initial launch.

The Apple HomePod has a woofer that is designed by Apple. If HomePod is in the kitchen, users can ask Siri to play jazz in the dining room, or play the same song in each room - perfectly in sync. They're also driven by the companies' realization that these devices could become a new platform akin to the personal computer and the smartphone, potentially becoming a prime way to search, shop, consume media and control a wide variety of other devices in the home.

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This new update will add support for HomePod.

So if you were planning on buying more than one, it won't offer multi-room support until some unspecified later date ...

This seems to be an important feature as in recent months, many have raised concerns about the possible implications of having a device that is always listening to its user.

At $349, the HomePod costs considerably more than Amazon's latest Echo and a Google Home, whose list prices are $100 and $129, respectively. Wider home automation through lighting, thermostats and other products will furthermore be possible using Apple HomeKit - although the list now falls short of competing with the vast number of integrations available through Alexa and Google Assistant.

The HomePod was originally slated to go on sale in December, ahead of the holiday shopping season. Unofficially, that is roughly £247 in the United Kingdom and €282 in the eurozone, but Apple ultimately prices its devices according to each market.

  • Desiree Holland