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Apple's long-awaited HomePod arrives in stores beginning Friday, February 9 and is available to order online this Friday, January 26 in the US, UK and Australia.
The HomePod is designed to work with an Apple Music subscription. It learns preferences and tastes that are shared across devices. HomePod's Siri implementation can handle advanced searches within Apple Music's catalog, so users can ask questions like, "Hey Siri, when was this song released?" or "Hey Siri, can you play something totally different?" to change the mood.
With support for HomeKit, HomePod can control hundreds of home accessories or set scenes like, "Hey Siri, I'm home," to control a number of different accessories at the same time.
Through SiriKit, HomePod supports third-party messaging apps.
"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," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "We're so excited for people to get HomePod into their homes, apartments and businesses to hear it for themselves. 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.'"
At launch, HomePod doesn't support multi-room audio or stereo playback. Apple notes the features are "coming this year in a free software update."
As previously announced, the HomePod retails for $349 in white and space gray in the US, UK and Australia. It will be available in France and Germany later in the spring.
The HomePod is compatible with iPhone 5s or later, iPad Pro, iPad Air or later, iPad mini 2 or later, or iPod touch (6th generation) with iOS 11.2.5 or later.