2017 was the year when we more consumers started trusting AI assistants and got closer to them. This has opened up the space for new competition in a new category of devices called Smart Speakers. Until now, Google and Amazon have been going head to head with their respective AI speakers offerings running Google Assistant and Alexa respectively. Back in June 2017, Apple had announced its own version of a Smart speaker called the Apple HomePod. The HomePod is finally going on sale from February 9th while the pre-orders will kick off as early as 26th January in the US, UK, and Australia. The HomePods like all Apple products come with a premium price tag of $349.

Apple’s HomePod will be a new home for its popular voice-based AI assistant Siri. With HomePod, users can play and control music just by their voice and the same goes to getting weather updates, news, etc. The HomePod can also be directed to control Smarthome or IoT devices that are HomeKit compatible. But those are things even an old iPhone can do which kind of makes the $349 asking price questionable.

But Apple claims that the money you pay goes more into the Sound quality of the HomePods. It features a seven tweeter setup combined with a High excursion woofer all packed neatly inside a 7-inch tall body. Apple will release an update in the future to sync multiple HomePods in connected locally to stream the same music without any latency. The Apple HomePod is also expected to hit more markets in the future such as France and Germany. But with the competition from Amazon and Google that sell Smart speakers for as low as $50, it will be interesting to where Apple’s offering will stand in the near future.