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Apple announces HomePod release date and price. Heres why its not like the Amazon Echo or Google H
Apple announced Tuesday that its HomePod speaker device the companys version of Amazon Echo or Google Home will be released Feb. 9 for $349. - photo by Herb Scribner
Apple fans, your HomePod has almost arrived.

Apple announced Tuesday that its HomePod speaker device the companys version of Amazon Echo or Google Home will be released Feb. 9 for $349.

Preorders for the new tech device begin this Friday, Jan. 26.

The speaker will be available in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia before going live in France and Germany in the spring.

Were so excited for people to get HomePod into their homes, apartments and businesses to hear it for themselves, said Philip Schiller, Apples senior vice president of worldwide marketing, in a statement. 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.

Apple originally intended to release the smart speaker system by the end of 2017, but the company delayed production in mid-December, according to The Verge.

The device appears to be similar to the one unveiled at Apples Worldwide Developers Conference last year, which put an emphasis on music and sound quality, rather than on Siri or a virtual assistant.

I think when people listen to it, they are going to be shocked over the quality of the sound, and of course it does a lot of other things, Apple CEO Tim Cook said last year at the WWDC, according to BGR. But we wanted a really high-quality audio experience as well."

In fact, those expecting the HomePod to be an Apple version of Amazon Echo or Google Home may find something completely different.

The speaker will still have an always-on voice assistant, but Apples implementation of Siri here will be more limited than whats present on other devices, according to The Verge.

Indeed, users will have limited ability to control Siri, according to Business Insider. Those who dont subscribe to Apple Music may have a tough time listening to music through the app, since it wont connect with Spotify, either.

And the devices price, a steep $349, is much higher than the Amazon Echo ($99) or the Google Home ($129).

The HomePod is being positioned more as a competitor to Sonos high-end wireless speakers than as a competitor to the plethora of inexpensive smart speakers flooding the market, The Verge reported.