We recently learned that Apple had crossed the FCC regulatory hurdle and may release its HomePod smart speaker pretty soon. We now have confirmation from Apple on the smart speaker's release date.
Apple has announced that it will be releasing the HomePod smart speaker on February 9th. Pre-orders for the device will start on Friday, January 26th, if you're interested in pre-ordering. HomePod will be on sale initially in the US, UK, and Australia with France and Germany getting it later this spring.
The company was originally planning to release the HomePod in December 2017, but certain delays caused it to be pushed back further. This basically meant that Apple missed a big holiday season opportunity where millions of smart speakers were sold. However, the smart speakers market is just getting warmed up.
Now, let's talk about the price a little bit. Apple decided to price its HomePod at a premium $349. This is a substantial point from its competitors like Google and Amazon that sell cheap and tiny speakers. The HomePod is positioned to compete with the likes of high-end wireless speakers like Sonos and plenty of other high-end speakers on the market.
Apple has designed the HomePod to work with Apple Music first and foremost, and right now it's unclear if you'll be able to use it with other providers, like Spotify. It might be possible that voice-activated commands may not be supported, rather you may be able to connect your Apple device to the HomePod and play music that way.