Apple HomePod release date and price confirmed: 9 February for £319

Amazon and Google's offerings, meanwhile, are more noteable for the voice assistant software that powers them, and less for the fidelity of their speakers (you can, however, connect both the Echo and Home to external audio outputs via Bluetooth or, for the smaller Echo Dot and Home Mini, auxiliary cable).

This new device from Apple was first announced at the WWDC developers conference back in June 2017 with it originally due to launch in December. As the end of the year grew near, Apple ultimately delayed the launch.

The HomePod is launching into a fast-growing market now dominated by Amazon and Google.

Apple is, perhaps obviously, preferring to talk about the quality of the audio that HomePod produces compared to its rivals.

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Express.co.uk was lucky enough to hear the HomePod previous year and there's no doubting that its sound credentials are impressive. Most core features are still limited to Apple products.

It's also the only smart speaker that features compatibility with Apple Music which is sure to make it hugely popular with the millions of subscribers to this service. There is a seven-tweeter array in the base of the device and six microphones nestled in the body, and is created to adjust its sound according to the local environment.

A $10 per month Apple Music subscription is also required to request music through HomePod. We're hitting on something people will be delighted with. It'll then arrive in France and Germany sometime this spring.

Apple's HomePod will come in White and Space Grey, and thanks to its built-in HomeKit support, it'll allow you to control smart appliances around your home, even by using your iPhone from another location. It's gonna blow them away.

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