[Update: Now available] Apple officially announces HomePod is coming to China on January 18th
Apple has announced today that HomePod will be available in China starting on Friday, January 18th. Apple teased last month that HomePod was coming to China in “early 2019,” but now we have an official release date.
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Update 1/17: As expected, HomePod is now available in China. The smart speaker costs RMB 2,799 in the country and is available in black and white. You can check availability on Apple’s website here.
In a press release, Apple said HomePod launches in mainland China and Hong Kong on Friday, January 18th. It will be available in white and space gray, much like in other countries.
Phil Schiller touted that Apple is “excited to bring HomePod” to users in China:
“HomePod is the perfect wireless speaker for music lovers. It delivers an unmatched music listening experience with high-fidelity sound wherever it is placed and creates a new way to discover and interact with music using Siri,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
“We’re excited to bring HomePod to our customers in mainland China and Hong Kong markets. We can’t wait for them to experience how great it sounds in their home, we think they are going to love it.”
Apple also touts integration with Apple Music’s “New Artist of the Week” feature in China, which highlights up and coming artists each week. The company also points to curated playlists like Mandopop and Cantopop being available via HomePod in China.
The press release makes a specific call out to privacy, with Apple saying “security and privacy are fundamental to the design of Apple hardware, software and services.”
With a launch in China, HomePod will be available in 9 countries. In addition to China, HomePod is available in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, and Spain.
Notably, Amazon’s Echo line of accessories is not officially available in China, giving Apple a leg-up on the competition there. In China, HomePod will be available for RMB 2,799. Read the full press release below.
HomePod, the innovative wireless speaker from Apple, will be available in mainland China and Hong Kong markets starting Friday, January 18. HomePod delivers stunning audio quality wherever it’s placed, playing any style of music. It’s easy and fun for everyone to use in the home, provides unmatched stereo sound with a stereo pair that offers a wider, more immersive soundstage than traditional stereo speakers, and works together with an Apple Music subscription to stream millions of songs directly to HomePod.
HomePod supports AirPlay 2, creating an effortless way for people to stream audio content from popular apps and services directly from an iOS device to HomePod and still experience breakthrough audio quality, whether listening to an audiobook, live radio or other popular music services.
“HomePod is the perfect wireless speaker for music lovers. It delivers an unmatched music listening experience with high-fidelity sound wherever it is placed and creates a new way to discover and interact with music using Siri,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “We’re excited to bring HomePod to our customers in mainland China and Hong Kong markets. We can’t wait for them to experience how great it sounds in their home, we think they are going to love it.”
HomePod combines Apple-engineered audio technology and advanced software to set a new audio quality standard for a small speaker. Featuring an Apple-designed woofer for deep, clean bass, a custom array of seven beamforming tweeters that provide pure high frequency acoustics with incredible directional control and powerful technologies built right in, HomePod is able to preserve the richness and intent of the original recordings.
HomePod is designed for voice control with an array of six microphones, so everyone in the family can interact with it from across the room, even while loud music is playing. Apple Music learns personal preferences based on the songs a user listens to and likes and these music tastes are shared across devices. Ask Siri to “play something I like” or choose from a variety of moods and genres such as Mandopop and Cantopop. HomePod, Apple Music and Siri deliver the best ad-free music experience in the home.
The New Artist of the Week program provides new talent with a prominent platform across greater China for their work to be discovered. Since launching in 2015, Apple Music has featured the debut releases of popular new artists coming from all over Asia, with music spanning a wide variety of genres and languages. New artists from mainland China include Corsak, Chace, Lucie Cheung, Gong, Dean Ting and Lu Xianghui. Popular playlists include The A-List International Pop, Today’s Hits, Best of the Week, The A-List Mandopop and Mandopop Replay, containing recent Mandopop hits from the past five years.
HomePod delivers an even more immersive listening experience when two HomePod speakers become a stereo pair, delivering high-fidelity sound with a wide soundstage. Using spatial awareness to sense their location in the room, each HomePod automatically adjusts the audio to sound great wherever it is placed and sound great together. And with AirPlay 2, it’s easy to stream music and other audio content from any AirPlay-supported apps, including QQ Music, DeDao, iHuman Story, Dragonfly FM and Penguin FM in mainland China, and Spotify, KKBOX, JOOX and Podcast in Hong Kong, and still experience high-fidelity sound from HomePod.
AirPlay 2 delivers the best wireless multi-room audio system and makes it easy to play and control music throughout the house with a powerful yet simple interface that works across any AirPlay-compatible speakers and TVs. It’s easy to play music in another room, move music from one room to another or play the same song on multiple HomePod speakers. AirPlay 2 controls are available across iOS within any app and in Control Center for quick access to what’s playing in every room, on every speaker.
HomePod is a convenient way to check the weather or the latest sports scores, set multiple timers and reminders, make and receive phone calls and more. Siri on HomePod also offers storytelling for children, just say “Hey Siri, tell me a story.” As a smart home hub, HomePod controls a wide range of HomeKit smart home accessories, including lights, air quality monitors, door locks, security cameras and more, from over 50 brands worldwide.1 Simply say, “Hey Siri, what’s the air quality in my home?” or “Hey Siri, turn on the lights in the kitchen and living room.”
Siri Shortcuts, introduced with iOS 12, open up a world of apps to work on HomePod. As Siri learns routines and suggests “shortcuts” on iPhone and iPad, these same shortcuts are now accessible on HomePod. Personalizing shortcuts for HomePod with a series of tasks is easy with a new Shortcuts app. For example, “Hey Siri, Good Morning” could run a routine that turns on the kitchen lights, starts the water kettle, shares the weather forecast and then plays a favorite playlist — all with one simple, customizable command.
Security and privacy are fundamental to the design of Apple hardware, software and services. With HomePod, only after “Hey Siri” is recognized locally on the device will any information be sent to Apple servers, encrypted and sent using an anonymous Siri identifier. Searches and requests are not associated with a specific identity, so personal information isn’t gathered to sell to advertisers or other organizations. End-to-end encryption ensures that data cannot be accessed, even by Apple. Personal requests, such as the ability to send messages, make phone calls, check calendar appointments and more, are only available if the feature is turned on in Settings and the iOS device is on the same network as HomePod.
HomePod will be available starting Friday, January 18 in mainland China and Hong Kong markets in white and space gray. HomePod is available in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico and Spain. HomePod is compatible with iPhone 5s or later, iPad Pro, iPad Air or later, iPad mini 2 or later, or iPod touch (6th generation).
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