SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Apple is finally ready to launch its attempt to compete with the internet-connected speakers made by Amazon and Google with the release of its long-awaited HomePod.
Pre-orders for the HomePod will begin Friday in the U.S, U.K. and Australia, two weeks before the speaker goes on sale in stores for $349.
Apple had intended to release the HomePod last month during the holiday shopping season, but delayed its debut to refine the product.
Both Amazon's Echo and Google's Home speakers have been expanding their reach into people's homes since Apple announced the HomePod last June.
Like its rivals, the HomePod includes a voice-activated assistant to help people manage their lives. The HomePod is also being billed as a high-fidelity speaker for music that will automatically learn people's tastes.