Apple’s $349 HomePod smart speaker is now available to preorder through the Apple Store app, with shipping slated to start on February 9th.
Despite the delay in the speaker’s launch, the HomePod will ship without features like AirPlay 2, which allows pairing and multiroom audio. Apple says those features are “coming this year in a free software update.”
HomePod is powered by Apple’s A8 chip (that first appeared in the iPhone 6) and it features built-in Siri, six microphones, HomeKit support to control your compatible smart home devices, and the ability to automatically optimize sound for a given room.
Apple’s smart speaker offering is the most expensive of its rivals at this size. The much larger and more powerful Google Home Maxcosts $399, while the standard Google Home is $129, and Amazon Echo is just $99.99.
Plus, the HomePod is also rivaled by the Sonos One smart speaker. To shake Apple’s crust, Sonos is offering two Sonos One speakers for $349, which is the price of a single Apple HomePod. Sonos One supports Amazon Alexa integration, and it’s promising Google Assistant integration sometime later this year via a free update.
The HomePod is available for preorder now in the US, UK, and Australia in black or white. The smart speaker will be available in France and Germany this spring.