Apple’s HomePod officially goes on sale today, with online sales of the devices expected to arrive next week.
The smart speaker uses Apple’s Siri voice agent, in the company’s relatively late entry into the smart speaker market.
A HomePod ordered today is expected to be delivered by Feb. 22 at the earliest, according to the Apple site, though those who preordered are expected to receive them earlier.
Apple stores and retailers such as BestBuy start selling the speaker today.
Apple significantly trails Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home lines of smart speakers entering the market, but Apple put a high emphasis on speaker sound quality.
“HomePod is a magical new music experience from Apple,” stated Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing in. “It brings advanced audio technologies like beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer and automatic spatial awareness, together with the entire Apple Music catalog and the latest Siri intelligence, in a simple, beautiful design that is so much fun to use.”
The HomePod is priced at $349, which compares to an Amazon Echo at $149 and Google Home at $129, with the smaller devices of each costing about $50. The HomePod also works only with iOS devices.
This year, 30 million people in the U.S. will use an Amazon Echo, according to eMarketer, which projected overall voice-enabled smart speaker share at 68% for Amazon Echo and 25% for Google Home.