Apple is expected to sell the HomePod for $349, a considerable premium above Amazon's Echo, now on its second generation, which sells for $99.99 on Amazon, and the Amazon Show, which includes a display screen, which sets customers back $229.
Apple was originally planning to release the HomePod in December, but has now delayed it until 2018.
If you had the Apple HomePod on your letter to Santa this year, you're going to need to get a replacement up the chimney pronto. With Apple's delay, "there will now be some people who make a different choice".
It has a seven-beam forming tweeter array to fill a room multi-directionally, plus a 4-inch woofer for bass control. It comes with built-in smart assistant like you find on Google Home and Amazon Echo.
Will you wait for HomePod to arrive? Apple now says that the launch will take place early next year. HomePod will be a while before we see it on sale and available to the public. Apple gave reporters demonstrations of the HomePod in an audio room, showing it back-to-back against rivals like an earlier Sonos and the Amazon Echo, where it bested both of them in sound quality.