Apple has announced its HomePod smart speaker will launch next month.
The tech giant’s wireless speaker, which works in conjunction with an Apple Music subscription, will arrive in stores on February 9. It will initially be available in the UK (priced £319), US and Australia and will arrive in France and Germany in the spring.
The HomePod will be in competition with rivals including market leader Amazon and the Alexa interactive AI, although Apple has remained true to form in entering the voice market with a premium product. The company recently acquired Shazam as part of its strategy for voice control.
Siri, which is already used on half a billion devices, will enable users to access the Apple Music catalogue using voice control. The speaker’s functionality also allows for sending messages, playing podcasts and checking news, sport, traffic and weather.
Philip Schiller, Apple’s SVP of worldwide marketing, said: “HomePod is a magical new music experience from Apple. It brings advanced audio technologies like beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer and automatic spatial awareness, together with the entire Apple Music catalogue and the latest Siri intelligence, in a simple, beautiful design that is so much fun to use.
“We’re so excited for people to get HomePod into their homes, apartments and businesses to hear it for themselves. We think they will be blown away by the audio quality. The team has worked to give Siri a deeper knowledge of music so that you can ask to play virtually anything from your personal favourites to the latest chart-topping releases, simply by saying ‘Hey Siri.’”
Apple Music subscribers can access a catalogue of more than 45 million songs, combined with their entire iTunes library, for online or offline listening.