Apple's Beats brand in April unveiled the Powerbeats Pro, a redesigned wire-free version of its popular fitness-oriented Powerbeats earbuds.
HomePod Launches February 9, Available to Order Starting Friday in United States, UK, and Australia
Apple added that HomePod will launch in France and Germany at some point "this spring," but hasn't provided release dates for other countries like Canada.
HomePod is priced at $349 in the United States, £319 in the United Kingdom, and $499 in Australia. The speaker will be available in White or Space Gray from Apple Stores and at select resellers in each country, such as Best Buy in the United States, John Lewis and EE in the UK, and Harvey Norman and Telstra in Australia.
Apple has primarily positioned the HomePod as a speaker that can stream Apple Music, but with built-in Siri, users can send messages, set timers, play podcasts, check the news and weather, control HomeKit-enabled smart home accessories, and complete other tasks without needing to take out their iPhone.
The high-fidelity speaker is equipped with spatial awareness and Apple-engineered audio technology, including a seven‑tweeter array and high-excursion woofer. The nearly seven inch tall speaker is powered by Apple's A8 chip.
Apple's marketing chief Phil Schiller:
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 catalog 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.Apple said a software update coming later this year will enable users with more than one HomePod to play music throughout their homes with multi-room audio via its AirPlay 2 protocol. And if there's more than one HomePod placed in the same room, the speakers will be able to detect each other and deliver stereo sound.
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 favorites to the latest chart-topping releases, simply by saying 'Hey Siri.'
HomePod is compatible with iPhone 5s or newer, any iPad Pro, iPad Air or newer, iPad mini 2 or newer, and the sixth-generation iPod touch running iOS 11.2.5, which remains in beta testing, or later software versions.
HomePod is Apple's answer to the Amazon Echo and Google Home. The speaker was originally set to be released in December, but Apple delayed the launch, and missed out on sales during the holiday shopping season in the process.