A year after U.S. release, Apple HomePod aims for success in China

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The Apple HomePod is scheduled for availability in China in early 2019, according to The Verge.

Apple famously moves at its own speed for product announcements and launches. The long-awaited Apple HomePod smart speaker launched in the U.S., U.K., and Australia in February, but further expansion has been measured. Apple fans could buy the HomePod in Canada, France, and Germany in June, followed by Mexico and Spain in October. Sometime soon after the new year, China will be on the HomePod’s map.

A recently added HomePod product page on Apple’s website in China refers to the HomePod as “The new voice of the home.” The website appropriately focuses on the HomePod’s great sound production and its ability to adapt to different spaces in the home.

Two significant factors should contribute to the HomePod’s success in China: Language and iOS. The HomePod supports Mandarin and Cantonese dialects of the Chinese language. Exact ratios of Mandarin to Cantonese speakers in China are unavailable, but Mandarin is the dialect used in Chinese-speaking schools, and the majority of Chinese people can speak Mandarin, even if it might not be their native dialect. Other Chinese smart speakers support only Mandarin, so the Cantonese support not only extends the product reach but may also appeal to the citizens’ pride of China’s long, diverse history and culture.

A second factor in the HomePod’s potential success in China is the popularity of iPhones. Two iPhone models, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were among the top five most popular smartphones sold in China in 2017, according to AppleInsider. iPhone popularity matters because you need an iOS device running iOS 12 in China to set up the HomePod.

HomePod pricing is available on the Chinese Apple Website. The HomePod will be available in white or deep gray for approximately $407. So HomePod buyers in China can expect to pay about a 16 percent premium over the $350 price. The AppleCare+ service plan for Homepod which provides up to two years of technical support and accidental damage warranty coverage will cost about $48.

The HomePod’s role in voice control of other Apple HomeKit devices is mentioned on the smart speaker’s product page, but not stressed as much as audio quality and intelligent space adaptability.

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