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Apple to start taking HomePod pre-orders on Friday

Apple’s exceptionally long-awaited Siri-powered ‘smart speaker’, the Apple HomePod, will be available for pre-order from Friday. 

The device will cost £319 – around three times the price of rival devices from Amazon and Google. 

The speaker was originally set to ship in time for Christmas, but Apple was forced to push back the release date, saying it “needs a little more time before it’s ready for our customers”. 

Apple has seemingly rectified whatever was causing the hold-up, announcing on Tuesday that pre-orders for the HomePod will begin on Friday in the UK, US and Australia. Shipping will begin two weeks later on 9 February. 

First announced at WWDC last year, the HomePod is Apple’s first stab at the Amazon and Google-dominated smart speaker market. Like its competitors, the speaker is controlled by Apple’s AI assistant Siri, which can do things such as read out the news, send iMessages and also act as a “musicologist” to will help users discover new music.

The device itself measures 7-inches tall. Apple has defended its bin-like design by talking up its “seamless 3D mesh fabric” as having acoustic properties.

Inside you’ll find Apple’s A8 processor, which the company claims is “the biggest brain inside of a speaker”. This sits alongside a 4-inch Apple-built subwoofer and a seven tweeter array with precision acoustic horns and directional control. 

The speaker also features “spatial awareness,” which allows it to automatically tune the sound to the space that the speaker is in, along with a six-microphone array.

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.

Those interested will be able to pre-order the Apple HomePod will for £319 on Friday. µ

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