Apple's HomePod smart speaker is finally almost here. After a month-long delay that caused it to miss the all-important holiday-shopping season, Apple has announced that HomePod will begin shipping on February 9, more than eight months after we first got a glimpse of it at WWDC.

Apple is billing HomePod as an audio device (hence its home under the "Music" tab on Apple.com), but in the age of growing Amazon Echo and Google Home devices, it needs to be much more than a really good speaker to compete with its fellow AI-enabled competitors. Here's how the fight is shaping up:

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