Apple's HomePod gains CNBC as newest partner

The smart speaker, which goes on sale next month, is still well behind the competition in offering third-party apps.

Ben Fox Rubin Former senior reporter
Ben Fox Rubin was a senior reporter for CNET News in Manhattan, reporting on Amazon, e-commerce and mobile payments. He previously worked as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and got his start at newspapers in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Ben Fox Rubin

The HomePod was delayed last year, as Apple said it needed more time to finish the product.


Compared with Amazon's Echo and Google Home, Apple's new HomePod smart speaker is noticeably lacking in third-party apps.

But, just a day after Apple announced the HomePod will go on sale Feb. 9, CNBC said it will bring business news briefings to the device. Customers will be able to ask for these briefings by saying, "Hey Siri, play business news" or "Hey Siri, play me the news from CNBC."

CNBC's announcement offers some early hope for Apple enthusiasts that the HomePod could quickly gain new apps now that the device is about to hit store shelves.

Apple said Tuesday that the HomePod will support messaging apps, like WhatsApp, so users can ask Siri to send a message to a friend. Other tools, available through SiriKit, will include reminders, note-taking and to-do list apps like Evernote. Using Apple's HomeKit, the HomePod can also control smart home gadgets, such as lights and thermostats.

That list is still thin when put up against Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa, which boasts over 30,000 apps (Amazon calls them "skills"), including one from CNBC, too. Apple, though, is highlighting the HomePod's sound quality -- not its smart-home capabilities -- in pitching the $349 device to customers.