Apple’s HomePod Speaker Will Be Available On February 9
The plump, cylindrical, smart speaker was originally slated to be released in late 2017, but Apple delayed the launch last November saying, “We need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers.” Today, the company announced that it is finally ready to ship. HomePod online preorders start this Friday, January 26 in the US, UK and Australia, while France and Germany will get the device in the spring.
HomePod will be among the most expensive smart speakers on the market. Its closest competitors are the Amazon Echo ($100), Google Home ($129) and the Sonos One ($199). Like other smart speakers, HomePod recognizes voice commands for smart home control, weather, timers, news, and general information. You’ll use “Hey Siri” with HomePod, as you would with your phone.
During the product’s unveiling at the Worldwide Developers Conference last June, the company touted the device with phrases like “high-excursion woofer,” “seven-tweeter array” and “360-degree audio.”
HomePod has other audiophile-friendly features, too. The coffee can-sized speaker can detect its location in a room and automatically adjust its output to optimize sound based on where it is (for example, if it were on a bookshelf against a wall versus on a coffee table in the middle of the room).
Amazon and Google’s offerings, meanwhile, are more noteable for the voice assistant software that powers them, and less for the fidelity of their speakers (you can, however, connect both the Echo and Home to external audio outputs via Bluetooth or, for the smaller Echo Dot and Home Mini, auxiliary cable).
A $10 per month Apple Music subscription is also required to request music through HomePod.