Apple HomePod, Apple's next big product, is coming next month

Rumors have been swirling as of late that Apple is getting ready to release its new Amazon Echo and Google Home rival very soon, and now we have an official launch date for the HomePod.

Apple on Tuesday announced that the $349 HomePod will hit store shelves on Feb. 9. The Cupertino tech giant will start taking pre-orders on its website this Friday, Jan. 26, in the US, UK, and Australia. The Siri-backed smart speaker is slated to arrive in France and Germany this spring.

Getting to this point has already been a long road for Apple, which unveiled the HomePod in June and planned to start selling it in December, in time for the holidays. But that didn't happen – Apple pushed back HomePod's launch until early 2018, saying it needed more time to work on the device. HomePod recently received the FCC's stamp of approval, causing speculation that the device's launch was imminent.

HomePod comes in white and space gray color options and is compatible with iPhone 5s or later, iPad Pro, iPad Air or later, iPad mini 2 or later, or the sixth-generation iPod touch devices running iOS 11.2.5 or later. The speaker is designed to work with Apple Music, the company's $9.99/month Spotify-like service, which offers access to 40 million songs.

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HomePod stands 7 inches tall and features six microphones, which will listen for your command to Siri. Apple claims HomePod and Siri can handle complicated queries, like "Hey Siri, when was this song released?" or "Hey Siri, who's the drummer in this?" Under the hood, the HomePod runs an Apple A8 chip and features an upward-facing subwoofer.

In a statement today, Apple's Senior Vice President of worldwide marketing Philip Schiller said HomePod is "so much fun to use."

"It brings advanced audio technologies like beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer, and automatic spatial awareness, together with the entire Apple Music catalog and the latest Siri intelligence, in a simple, beautiful design," Schiller said. "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.'"

Stay tuned for PCMag's full HomePod review.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.