Apple's HomePod coming on February 9 for $349; pre-orders start Friday

Apple's HomePod coming on February 9 for $349; pre-orders start Friday

Apple's HomePod coming on February 9 for $349; pre-orders start Friday

The Cupertino company didn't deliver on that date, obviously, and those who had thought, by now, they'd be giving "Hey Siri" voice commands to their gorgeous new smart speaker were left in limbo - when would it be released?

Initially set for before 2017's holiday rush, the release was delayed during a season where Google and Amazon went on to rule the home speaker market, selling in the millions. The device will arrive in France and Germany this spring, Apple said. Apple says users will be able to play music throughout the house with multi-room audio through an upcoming software update. We always knew the device would be controlled by Siri and integrated directly with Apple Music while supporting voice control for smart-home devices using HomeKit. In terms of gaming, we're seeing Amazon work on incorporating functionality into triple-A titles like Destiny 2. When HomePod hits store shelves, it'll cost customers $349.

The closest competitors of the Apple HomePod Speaker are far behind in the price category and may force consumers to really put some thought into making the purchase. The company will begin taking pre-orders on the device on Friday, January 26.

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HomePod is a convenient way to send messages, set timers and reminders, check the weather and listen to shows on Apple Podcasts. It brings advanced audio technologies like beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer and automatic spatial awareness, together with the entire Apple Music catalog and the latest Siri intelligence, in a simple, attractive design that is so much fun to use. In a statement on Tuesday, in fact, it was the device's "stunning audio quality" and "incredible music listening experience" that took top billing.

AUSTRALIA will be one of just three countries to receive Apple's first smart speaker when it launches next month after the tech giant made a surprise announcement overnight. That means Siri will probably clam up if you ask her to "play Rap Caviar really loud".

Another interesting new features is when two HomePods in the same room automatically detect each other and create stereo sound.

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