Apple's $349 voice-activated HomePod speaker is available to order from Friday

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The speaker is designed as a competitor to the Amazon Echo, which has been dominating Smart Home sales lately.

To setup the device all you have to do is hold an iPhone next to it and when the HomePod hears the trigger words of "Hey, Siri" a waveform will appear on top to show that it is listening. However, Google's Home Max speaker promises to do much of the same with a technology Google calls smart sound, and Sonos has been offering its customers the ability to fine-tune their speakers based on their homes for some time as well. The speaker is created to work with Apple Music, the company's $9.99/month Spotify-like service, which offers access to 40 million songs. For those heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, this is the be-all-end-all of smart speakers. The HomePod will be available in White and Space Grey when it lands, with both sitting at the $349 price mark.

Apple's HomePod claims to deliver "stunning audio quality", and offers hands-free voice control.

The HomePod will be available February 9, and goes on pre-order this Friday, Apple announced on Tuesday. It brings advanced audio technologies like beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer and automatic spatial awareness, together with the entire Apple Music catalogue and the latest Siri intelligence, in a simple, attractive design that is so much fun to use.

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There's also an SDK for developers who want to come up with interesting apps that will work with HomePod. Under the hood, the HomePod runs an Apple A8 chip and features an upward-facing subwoofer.

The HomePod will eventually be able to play in a multiroom setup with other AirPlay 2-supports speakers, by the likes of Bose, Devialet, Naim and Bang & Olufsen. Users can send messages via Whatsapp, or compile to-do lists with Evernote. Now you can ask it to play music, sports and business news, too.

Apple has also said that the multi-room audio feature won't arrive until later this year via a software update.

It is compatible with iPhone 5s and later models, running iOS 11 and will be competing with Google Home and Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo.