Apple will finally release its very own addition to the voice-activated smart home family. You can preorder the HomePod, announced back in June and releasing on February 9th, ahead of time this coming Friday.
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.
With a price tag of $349, the HomePod sits on the higher end in terms of cost compared to Amazon or Google offerings, which fall in the $99-$199 range. Beyond those major players, plenty of low-cost options have come along, but like most things, you get what you pay for.
Where other speakers’ main attraction is the smart aspect—keeping track of your files, details, plans, and emails across devices—sound quality will be the HomePod’s focal point, appealing more to audiophiles than just the super organized.
There are a few details about the device that are still a bit of a mystery, like whether or not non-Apple Music subscribers will be able to get in on the fun.
The HomePod is currently designed specifically with other iOS products in mind, so it’s unclear if the scope has widened since its announcement. Siri will still be an important part of its design, but in a much more pared-down way than other Apple devices, since so much of its functions rely on third-party, directly internet-connected apps.