Apple HomePod smart speaker spotted out in the wild – report

Full details of the Apple HomePod remain under wraps for now, but Apple’s upcoming smart speaker may have already been spotted in the wild.

Back in June, Apple used its annual Worldwide Developers Conference to showcase the HomePod, a new smart speaker powered by Siri. It’s intended to be a direct rival to other smart speakers that are already available, including the Google Home and the hugely popular Amazon Echo.

But Apple kept a lid on full details about the device, and even held back the release date. That means we’re largely in the dark about what to expect from the new machine.

However, rumour has it that Apple is gearing up to launch the new device, with latest leaks suggesting that the speaker will properly debut at the September 12 iPhone 8 launch event.

Lending credence to that theory is a new pair of leaks that suggest there are already HomePods out in the world in use right now.

The first comes courtesy of Andreessen Horowitz venture capitalist Benedict Evans, who posted a telling screengrab to Twitter. The image depicts the iOS Control Centre on his iPhone, showing available media output options for the BBC iPlayer app. Check it out:

As you can see, one of the icons is an audio device named “Kitchen”, with an image that looks extremely similar to the Apple HomePod silhouette. Importantly, “Kitchen” is exactly the sort of name you’d give to a smart speaker device, like an Apple HomePod.

It’s also worth mentioning that the image was reportedly snapped in Menlo Park, which is a popular region within the San Francisco Bay Area of California. Lots of people who work for major technology companies work there, due to the proximity to so many tech firm headquarters – Apple included.

The second leak comes courtesy of an Instagram user called “themrlink”, who posted an image of what looks like the Apple speaker, alongside the caption “#homepod”.

Take a look:

#homepod

A post shared by Linc (@themrlinc) on

The user’s location is listed as Shanghai, China. Apple regularly uses China to manufacture its products, so its not beyond the realms of possibility that this is a legitimate shot of the HomePod. It certainly looks like the device, and the usual Apple charging cable can be seen in the background of the image – alongside what looks like an Apple box.

Of course, it’s impossible for us to actually verify this photograph, so we recommend taking both of the above leaks with due caution.

Apple is expected to formally launch the HomePod smart speaker on September 12, and plans to sell the device for $349 USD in December 2017.

Related: Apple HomePod vs Amazon Echo

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