Apple HomePod speaker gets a February 9 release date

Apple will join the smart speaker fray on February 9 with HomePod, a $349 answer to the Amazon Echo and Google Home. The company will start taking pre-orders on January 29 in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, and the speaker will arrive in France and Germany this spring. Apple first announced the HomePod back in June 2017, and was preparing to release it for the holiday season of the same year. With the news that the Federal Communications Commission approved its distribution, a release date was imminent. Priced at $349, Apple will be looking to tackle high-end customers.
One of the draws of the HomePod will be that its assistant Siri will always be on, but will only respond to the command “Hey Siri.” Apple says that it will not send any information to its servers unless the user says the voice command. Even when it is sent to its server, the information will be encrypted and sent using an anonymous Siri identifier. The speaker will be connected to Apple Music, making it easy for users to listen to any song that they want in the vast music library. Besides music, Siri will be able to send messages, set timers, play podcasts, check the news, sports, traffic and weather, and also control HomeKit smart home accessories.
Other smart speakers such as those offered by Amazon and Google have flooded the market. Both companies were able to get their home assistants out during the holiday season, despite taking a loss in profits. Their efforts were to get larger market share before Apple released the HomePod. Apple says the HomePod will be easy to set-up. All users have to do to integrate iPhones with the speaker is hold them next to the HomePod, and the device will be set-up.