(Pocket-lint) - The Apple HomePod is now available to buy in the UK, US and Australia.  

First announced at Apple's developer conference in June 2017, the new Siri-equipped speaker takes on the Amazon Echo and Google Home in the race to be the smart home speaker of choice. 

Like other smart speakers on the market, the Apple HomePod can do a number of things beyond playing music via Apple Music. This includes working with third-party messaging apps and controlling HomeKit-enabled smart devices. 

"Through SiriKit, HomePod supports third-party messaging apps, so users can ask Siri to send a message to a friend or colleague using apps like WhatsApp," the company explained in a statement.

"Reminders, note-taking and to-do list apps, like Things and Evernote, will automatically work with HomePod, so Siri can set reminders, create a new list, mark items as complete or create and modify notes."

Apple also confirmed that, through a free software update later this year, users will be able to play music throughout the house with multi-room audio - this effectively means the speaker will directly compete with Sonos. 

HomePod is available at an Apple retail price of £319 in white and space grey in the UK. It costs $349 in the US. You can get it from apple.com/uk (apple.com in the States) and the Apple Store app.

Best Bluetooth speakers 2021: Top portable speakers to buy today

HomePod is also available in Apple's high-street stores and at select Apple Authorised Resellers, including Best Buy in the US and Argos, Dixons Carphone and John Lewis in the UK. And it is available through EE.

The company has confirmed that the HomePod will also be available in France and Germany this spring.

Writing by Stuart Miles.