Apple's $349 HomePod is only the second-most expensive major smart speaker you can buy

It’s hard to believe now, but little more than three years ago, smart speakers didn’t exist. And little more than six years ago, you couldn’t find any consumer device with a built-in voice assistant.

My, how things have changed. Since Apple put Siri on the iPhone 4S in 2011, every one of its smartphones has come with the intelligent assistant baked in. Later, Siri came to Apple’s iPad tablets and Mac computers, too. More recently, Google has started to roll out the Google Assistant smart agent to more Android devices, too.

A similar dynamic is shaping up in smart speakers. Google joined the market in 2016, two years after Amazon debuted its pioneering Echo. Both companies have since added multiple devices to their lineups. And now other companies are jumping into the market, most notably Apple, which just started taking orders for its HomePod on Friday. As this chart from Statista shows, consumers can choose from a variety of smart speakers that come in a wide range of prices and capabilities.

Samantha Lee/Business Insider

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