HomePod: 10 things to know about Apple's fancy new Siri speaker

Apple HomePod Review: Apple, is this all you've got?

It will go on sale from February 9. Apple's $349 smart speakers were initially scheduled to launch last December.

The device appears to be similar to the one unveiled at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference past year, which put an emphasis on music and sound quality, rather than on Siri or a virtual assistant.

The $349 HomePod will arrive at Apple stores starting February 9 in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.

Apple's product will cost $349 United States dollars and be available in two colors: white and space gray. However, the tech giant made a decision to move the HomePod's release to early 2018. However, Apple has yet to confirm a Middle East price for the HomePod. But since then, Alexa and Google Assistant have taken the lead in capabilities - especially in the kind of integration that makes a smart speaker useful as a smart home hub.

Those waiting eagerly for Apple's HomePod smart speaker have now twice been disappointed.

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) started the smart speaker trend with its Amazon Echo. Both Google Home and Amazon Echo devices have similar features.

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In fact, the features were originally listed along with the bulk of the HomePod's other offerings on the device's main page, but are now grouped in a separate box listing features "coming later this year".

At the time, an Apple spokesperson said: "We can't wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple's breakthrough wireless speaker for the home".

The HomePod is powered by Apple's A8 chip and comes with a large, high-excursion woofer, seven tweeters and six microphones. But then that's what Apple products are known for - sporting the most expensive price tags in the tech town, right? The Apple HomePod has a cylindric shape and it weighs 2 kg and a half.

It also uses spatial awareness to sense its location in the room, understand the tracks in the song that's playing, and essentially remix the sound according to the room it's in.

In case you do not know, smart speakers like this one can be used to interact with other devices in the house (smart home and IoT) or to get some info about news, weather, and many other things. Wider home automation through lighting, thermostats and other products will furthermore be possible using Apple HomeKit - although the list now falls short of competing with the vast number of integrations available through Alexa and Google Assistant.

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