Apple to start taking HomePod pre-orders on Friday

Apple launching Home Pod in February

The voice-controlled speaker, unveiled in June past year and originally scheduled for a December release, will be available in other markets later, according to a company announcement.

Now Apple's HomePod is entering a market where this tough competition from well-established players like Amazon's Echo series, which is available in a range of devices and price points.

Easy Setup: Simply hold an iPhone next to HomePod and it's ready to start playing music in seconds. We now have confirmation from Apple on the smart speaker's release date.

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.

The HomePod will not be available in Canada just yet.

HomePod features a large, Apple-designed woofer for deep, clean bass, a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters that provide pure high frequency acoustics with directional control, and powerful technologies that preserve the richness and intent of original recordings. But it doesn't really come with any benefits over its competitors.

But in the digital assistant realm, it will be hard for Apple to catch up to the others-specifically Amazon-in terms of skills: As of June 2017, Alexa had 15,069 skills, compared to 378 for Google Assistant and 65 for Microsoft Cortana.

Developers can also use SiriKit for HomePod to enable new actions related to messaging, lists, and notes.

Choose "Apple HomePod" or "Google Home".

When it was first unveiled last winter, the HomePod's main marketing advantage was its allegedly superior audio quality.

It's not even yet 100% clear whether you'll get stereo performance from two speakers before the update.

With the launch, Apple is taking on existing smart speakers, such as the Amazon Echo ($100) and Google Home ($129).

"Hey Siri, tell me the business news".

This confirms that Apple doesnt plan to put Siri in any third-party devices like Google and Amazon have been doing, putting the assistant in things like home appliances and in-car audio solutions, going as far as saying that this model is probably not sustainable.

HomePod is created to work with an Apple Music subscription, however, so Spotify users need not apply.

Sure, you could connect your iPhone to the HomePod via Bluetooth and play Spotify from there.

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