If you have been looking forward to getting an Apple-branded smart speaker in your home, the HomePod is now up for pre-order. HomePod will sell for $349, making it much more expensive than the competing products on the market already. As of this writing the ship date for from the device is listed as February 9.
Apple will sell you an AppleCare+ plan for two years of tech support and accidental damage coverage for $39 per HomePod, although we don't really see the need for such protection for a device that will likely be sitting on a piece of furniture collecting dust for the majority of its life. To setup the HomePod, you do need an iPhone 5S or later, iPad Pro, iPad 5th generation, iPad Air or later, iPad Mini 2 or later, or an iPod touch 6th gen running iOS 11.2.5 or later.
If you haven’t been following the HomePod, it's a Siri-powered smart speaker that measures 6.8-inches high and 5.6-inches wide and weighs in at 5.5 pounds. Inside the round shell Apple packs in a high-excursion woofer with a custom amp and seven horn-loaded tweeters each with its own amp. A six-microphone array for far-field Siri is integrated along with a low-frequency internal calibration mic for automatic bass correction.
HomePod also uses direct and ambient audio beamforming and has studio-level transparent dynamic processing. It will connect to your home network using 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO and Bluetooth 5.0. Apple isn't wasting any time with pre-orders of the HomePod; the device only crossed the FCC less than a week ago.