Apple will start taking online orders for its HomePod smart speaker on Friday in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, with the release date set for February 9.
The voice-controlled speaker, unveiled in June last year and originally scheduled for a December release, will be available in other markets later, according to a company announcement.
France and Germany will get the device sometime in the spring.
The US$349 gadget, Apple’s first smart speaker, will use Siri voice assistant and compete against offerings from Amazon and Google, Reuters noted.
It can offer music suggestions and adjust home temperatures, and will also be able to send messages and play news updates from National Public Radio and CNN.
The HomePod was originally supposed to go on sale last month, but it was delayed, resulting in the company missing the critical holiday shopping season.
Analysts have debated the impact of the shipping delay on the HomePod’s eventual success, as many consumers bought a rival speaker over the holiday season, Reuters noted.
Amazon and Google cut prices on their entry-level speakers over the holiday season in an aggressive push for market share.
Apple is counting on HomePod to boost subscriptions to Apple Music and block the rise of rival Spotify.
The smart speakers from Google and Amazon let users give voice commands to play Spotify but Apple Music does not work on the rival devices.
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