Apple has just announced that its HomePod smart speaker won’t be on sale until early in 2018.

Now Bloomberg has been shedding more details on the backstory of the product, which if the article is true, paints a picture very different from the finely-honed R&D machine that Apple is often seen as.

Among its claims: Apple audio engineers have been working on a speaker device since around 2012, but were “blindsided” by the launch of Amazon’s Echo in 2014.

Over the next two years: “Amazon’s Echo became a hit with consumers impressed by Alexa’s ability to answer questions, order pizzas and turn lights on and off. Meanwhile, Apple dithered over its own speaker, according to people familiar with the situation. The project was cancelled and revived several times, they said, and the device went through multiple permutations…”

The article also suggests that when the HomePod does launch, its features will be lacking in comparison to the voice-activated apps (or ’skills’) on Echo and Google Home.

“This is a huge missed opportunity,” said one of Bloomberg’s sources. The full piece is worth reading.

EarPods and phone

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