On Friday, January 18, Apple began selling its HomePod across mainland China and Hong Kong markets, according to a report from Apple Insider. In China, the HomePod is being sold for 2,799 yuan, which is about $413 USD, while in Hong Kong the price for the device is set at HK$2,799, which works out to be a little less than $356 USD, according to Apple’s website in each region. Both China and Hong Kong online stores are showing immediate availability, with super quick shipping times of just one business day.
This comes almost a year after Apple initially released the smart speaker in the United States, but the company seems to be excited about the move.
“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,” Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said.
The first iteration of the HomePod was released in February, 2018, and has been described by Apple as “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.”
The HomePod supports AirPlay 2, which offers users an effortless way to stream audio content from any compatible device in the Apple ecosystem to the speaker.
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Apple's HomePod is out today, but is it worth $349? The Siri-enabled device is all about the music first, and about smart assistant stuff second. The HomePod isn’t just one speaker, it’s actually eight of them, all controlled by Apple’s own A8 processor and tons of custom software. The HomePod’s power cord is built in and wrapped in fabric, and on top, there are LED-backlit volume buttons and a display that acts more as a touch surface. However, Siri just can’t do nearly as many tasks as Alexa or Google Assistant. And the HomePod is tightly locked inside Apple’s ecosystem. It’s tied more closely to a single iPhone and iCloud account than any other smart speaker. Despite all of this, it is, by all accounts, a superb speaker for its size. ???? @happicamp
The company also took the opportunity to promote Apple Music, which is currently the only native streaming service allowed on the speaker. Apple mentioned Apple Music’s “New Artist of the Week” program, which features artists like Corsak, Gong, and Lu Xianghui.
According to a report from Tech Radar, there might be another HomePod in the works. The new iteration of the smart speaker might be in the form of a HomePod Mini and could be cheaper than the current model, which would make the product more accessible to customers who aren’t able to afford the higher price tag. The report highlighted a list of things tech fans are hoping to eventually see on the HomePod, including open access to other music services.
Blayne Curtis, a Barclays analyst, said that the sales numbers for the current HomePod model have been “underwhelming” with less than 5 million sold so far, according to a December, 2018, report from MacWorld.
Popular tech analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also weighed in to say that he believes the main reason Apple isn’t selling a lot of first-gen HomePods is simply because it’s too expensive. He went on to say that the price “could undermine demand despite excellent sound quality.”