The sci-fi vision of a connected home is quickly becoming a reality: both Amazon and Google have launched smart speakers, with an Apple offering based on Siri coming in February 2018.
These products are designed to act as standalone hubs for your digital life. Voice activation systems allow users to ask questions, perform tasks and control their IoT appliances, without even having to touch their phones.
We look at how the three major smart assistant products compare to each other, and which one is worth splashing out on.
24/01/2018: Apple has officially announced a release date for the HomePod, its answer to smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home.
The gadget will hit stores on 9 February next month, with pre-orders opening this Friday. The device is priced at £349 - significantly more than similar rivals like the Amazon Echo and Google Home.
Many have criticised the HomePod for being overpriced and lacking in features; Amazon's most expensive Echo speaker, the Echo Plus, tops out at £140 and includes a built-in smart home hub. HomePod, by contrast, lacks key features such as multi-room audio and stereo output.
Apple appears to be banking on the audio quality of its device, however, rather than its technological capabilities. The company will be hoping to use the HomePod as a means to drive Apple Music subscriptions, which is part of one of the company's primary revenue streams.
Apple is also approaching the market significantly later than its competition; the Amazon Echo has been out for over three years, while Google Home has been offering stiff competition for over six months. Critics argue that at this point, Apple will struggle to find a gap in the market.