So Apple has finally jumped into the world of smart speakers with the announcement of its HomePod voice-activated speaker that’s powered by Siri. But unlike Google Home and Amazon’s Echo the key selling point of Apple’s offering is as a speaker that is smart rather than the other way round. What does this mean? Well it seems like Apple are concentrating on the sound quality of the speaker.

Is it available now?

The Apple HomePod won’t be available until December 2017, just in time for Christmas, and the price will be $349. Although the price seems to be on the high side in comparison to the $180 cost of Amazon’s Echo we’d expect anyone that’s invested in the Apple ecosystem to hop on board by adding the latest product to their collection.

How does it sound?

Sound wise it is comparable to the Sonos Play:3 speaker but unlike the offering from Sonos it adds voice control into the mix. And while Siri may be coming under fire for failing to keep pace with its rivals it still offers a wealth of voice commands to help you not only control your speaker but also other connected devices in your home.

One thing that most people will love is the easy setup where the HomePod will send out sound waves to measure the space that it is in. It can then vary the audio to deliver the best audio for the room. Also if you are lucky enough to have two of these speakers then they will automatically pair with each other and again tweak the audio for the room they are in.

The speakers can also adjust the sound automatically so that you always get clean, clear and distortion-free audio.

Is it worth the extra money?

It is hard to tell at this stage whether the Apple HomePod is worth its premium price. For those that want great sounding speakers then there are better options on the market. While for voice activated home automation again there are solutions that can do so much more. But for the price there are probably very few devices that will sound as good as the HomePod and give the level of voice control that it does.