Apple's long-awaited answer to the Amazon Echo, the HomePod, goes on sale this week.
Placing itself in the game as the ultimate music authority, Apple's HomePod will be released on February 9.
The Apple HomePod's differentiating quality is its focus on sound quality, an area of dissatisfaction in other smart speakers. The HomePod combines impressive sound with Siri commands, using artificial intelligence and voice recognition to answer questions, read the news and play podcasts, amongst other things.
The Verge's video review of the Apple HomePod.
However, compared to its rival smart speakers, there are numerous things it can't do, including creating a calendar appointment, use Spotify as the default music service, or act as a Bluetooth speaker. Whereas Google and Amazon have made headway on using machine learning for their own voice assistants, it seems Apple is lagging behind with Siri, despite being the first to launch a voice interface for its products in 2011.
Initially, the speaker will be released in the US, UK and Australia for $349/£349. That's considerably more expensive than its rivals from Amazon and Google, the Amazon Echo and Google Home. (See Poll: Do You Use a Voice Assistant?)
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