Apple announces February launch for its HomePod smart speaker

It was coming. Then it was delayed. Now it's here... well, nearly. Apple has announced that the HomePod will go on sale in the US, UK and Australia on the 9th February (France and Germany have to wait until Spring). The £319 smart speaker will be available to pre-order from Friday, January 26th.

The HomePod was first announced at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in June 2017 but in November, Apple announced it had been delayed until 2018.

When it finally lands, the smart speaker will be competing in a market which already includes the likes of the Amazon Echo and Google Home, not to mention other speakers which feature built-in Google Assistant, Alexa and other virtual assistants.

According to Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, the HomePod will bring "advanced audio technologies like beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer and automatic spatial awareness" that makes him think people "will be blown away by the audio quality."

Whether this "magical new music experience" (Schiller's words) will live up to the hype remains to be seen. Needless to say, you'll be the first to know - keep an eye out for our exhaustive First Test!

Read more:

Apple HomePod hands-on review

Smart speakers - everything you need to know

Apple AirPlay 2 - everything you need to know

Apple Music vs Spotify – which is better?

28 Apple Music tips, tricks and features

Amazon Echo vs Google Home – which is better?

Adam was a staff writer for What Hi-Fi?, reviewing consumer gadgets for online and print publication, as well as researching and producing features and advice pieces on new technology in the hi-fi industry. He has since worked for PC Mag as a contributing editor and is now a science and technology reporter for The Independent.