Apple's HomePod lands in Japan on Aug. 23

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple on Friday announced an immediate start to HomePod preorders in Japan, with shipments of the Siri-powered speaker scheduled to land in the hands of customers on Aug. 23.

HomePod


The announcement, shared in a press release posted to Apple's regional website, arrives more than a month after the company published an informational webpage stating HomePod would arrive in Japan this summer.

Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller in a prepared statement touted the speaker's Hi-Fi capabilities, Apple Music integration and Siri smarts.

"We can't wait for customers to experience how great it sounds in their home," Schiller said.

The release namechecks popular local artists like singer Aimyon and band One OK Rock as potential streaming candidates for new users. Regional playlists like Apple Music's Top 100: Japan, which debuted last September are also mentioned.

Apple goes on to list HomePod's attributes, from a multi-microphone, multi-tweeter array that assists in location awareness and audio beam-forming to multi-room playback and stereo sound. The latter functions require two or more HomePods, which can be paired to achieve a simulated "stereo" effect or placed in different rooms of a house for synchronized streaming via AirPlay 2.

HomeKit support with Siri voice commands, as well as intelligent Siri Shortcuts, are also named as unique benefits. Apple notes all Siri requests and searches conducted on HomePod are anonymized, while personal requests like phone calls, messaging and calendar queries can only be enabled in the iOS Settings menu.

In Japan, HomePod sells for 32,800 yen (about $310) and is available in white and Space Gray. Alongside brick-and-mortar Apple stores, the speaker will be available at select mobile phone retailers on Aug. 23.

HomePod launched in Australia, the U.S. and UK in February 2018, some seven months after its unveiling at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in 2017. Additional markets gained access to the speaker across 2018 with launches in China and Hong Kong in January, Canada, France and Germany in June, and Mexico and Spain in October.

Apple's smart speaker is due to receive significant upgrades with the launch of iOS 13 this fall. Notable enhancements include multi-user voice-recognition, song Handoff with iPhone and enhanced Shortcuts integration.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    I love my sweet sweet sounding HomePods.
    edited August 15 lolliverchaickaStrangeDayszroger73watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 13
    How odd...

    HomePod only launched in English speaking countries initially, then took a long time to launch in Japan.  Japan is arguably Apple’s most important international market.

    I assume Siri works just fine recognizing Japanese... so why the delay?  I’m left with regulations or cost...

    Could Apple been initially been selling HomePods for a loss, so delayed the launch?  I don’t think Apple breaks down earning enough for us to do more than speculate.

    FYI: The Apple Watch was simultaneously launched in the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada, China (including Hong Kong), France, Germany and Japan.
    edited August 15 watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 13
    Lucky people!!
    kkqd1337watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    How odd...

    HomePod only launched in English speaking countries initially, then took a long time to launch in Japan.  Japan is arguably Apple’s most important international market.

    I assume Siri works just fine recognizing Japanese... so why the delay?  I’m left with regulations or cost...

    Could Apple been initially been selling HomePods for a loss, so delayed the launch?  I don’t think Apple breaks down earning enough for us to do more than speculate.

    FYI: The Apple Watch was simultaneously launched in the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada, China (including Hong Kong), France, Germany and Japan.
    HomePod is such a high visibility device, that  Apple has been customizing language support for Siri on the HomePod in each of the worlds major languages prior to rollout. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 13
    Notsofast said:
    How odd...

    HomePod only launched in English speaking countries initially, then took a long time to launch in Japan.  Japan is arguably Apple’s most important international market.

    I assume Siri works just fine recognizing Japanese... so why the delay?  I’m left with regulations or cost...

    Could Apple been initially been selling HomePods for a loss, so delayed the launch?  I don’t think Apple breaks down earning enough for us to do more than speculate.

    FYI: The Apple Watch was simultaneously launched in the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada, China (including Hong Kong), France, Germany and Japan.
    HomePod is such a high visibility device, that  Apple has been customizing language support for Siri on the HomePod in each of the worlds major languages prior to rollout. 
    You are probably correct...  when I think of HomePod I think of a speaker, controlled using Siri, to play Apple Music, because that’s all I care about.

    What it can actually do: (from Macworld)

    At launch the HomePod could do the following: (Here’s how to use HomePod)

    • Play music from Apple Music and use various Siri commands to play certain songs, albums, artists or music genres or get information about the artist, or to ‘play other songs like this’.
    • Play any music you have bought from iTunes Music Store.
    • Play any music via your iPhone, be it a Spotify playlist, a radio station, or music obtained some other way, you could use AirPlay on an iPhone, iPad or Mac to stream it to the HomePod.
    • Play podcasts.
    • Get a Podcast powered news summary by asking Siri to ‘give me the news’.
    • Control your HomeKit gadgets.
    • Make and receive phone calls.
    • Set up automations so that a single command can trigger a series of events. E.g. say Good Night and have Siri pick up the command on your HomePod and turn the TV and lights off and close the curtains. Read: Things you can ask Siri on the HomePod here.
    • Read and reply to your Messages.
    • Set timers and alarms.
    • Let you know what the traffic will be like for your journey.
    • Let you know what the weather will be like.
    • Get local cinema times.
    • Provide information that could be obtained from searching the internet, such as opening hours for your local grocery store.
    • Play music directly from your iPhone without connecting to a WiFi network (we explain how to do that here).
    • Translate. For example, you could ask: “Hey Siri, how do you say Good Evening in German” for example and it will tell you.
    • Spelling. Similarly, if you are not sure how to spell a word, you can ask Siri on the HomePod to spell it for you.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 13
    chaickachaicka Posts: 149member
    Pity...It’s still not launch in Singapore. Perhaps time to reconsider given the death of tourism to Hong Kong and Singapore uses same UK plug as Hong Kong. Launch in Singapore and divert stock over.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 13
    chaickachaicka Posts: 149member
    AI, you missed out mentioning Taiwan in this article cause they are both launching on the same date.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 13
    Probably worth holding off to see what Sonos announce on the 27th. Much more versatile products. 
    bigtds
  • Reply 9 of 13
    I realize it is a smart speaker, but what has held me off from purchasing it is the reality that there is no analog audio input (or lightening port) or allows standard Bluetooth input without AirPlay.  The reason?  It’s on an A8 processor that Apple will eventually no longer update the software to support.  I want to still be able to use it a decade from now, even if I can only use it with an external audio device. 
  • Reply 10 of 13
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,010member
    wanderso said:
    I realize it is a smart speaker, but what has held me off from purchasing it is the reality that there is no analog audio input (or lightening port) or allows standard Bluetooth input without AirPlay.  The reason?  It’s on an A8 processor that Apple will eventually no longer update the software to support.  I want to still be able to use it a decade from now, even if I can only use it with an external audio device. 
    True it’s only an A8, I can’t imagine a feature it can’t handle. The processor is dedicated to a finite number of processes. As long as those don’t change a more powerful processor is not needed. 
    Notsofastwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 13
    imatimat Posts: 168member
    The only thing Apple has to work really hard on, and I know it is a gargantuan task, is "multi language support" in Siri in general (and in HomePod in particular).

    When I give a command, on the HomePod in English, to play an italian song (I speak italian so my pronunciation is correct) Siri does whatever it pleases.

    Same on my iPhone when I ask, in italian, Siri to play an english song, it doesn't get it. Only if I pronounce it like an "italian" it gets it.

    And, before you ask, notice that HomePod doesn't have ANY problem with my english, gets everything right most of the time.


    I know it is really hard, because people speak foreign languages with various amounts of "accent" according to how fluent they are. But, at least for proficient multilingual speakers, Siri should get it.

    If I ask Siri on my phone, in italian, to play some Colplay, I shouldn't be forced to pronounce it the italian way (which hurts my ears... and makes me feel really stupid). Hey Siri, suona "Viva la Vida" dei "Coldplay".


    Room for improvement. Admittedly, I think, one of the hardest things to do on voice recognition, but nevertheless important as more and more people speak several languages...

    A, and hey... Still waiting for my AppleTV to activate Siri in Italian also in the italian speaking part of switzerland. It works in italy, we speak THE EXACT SAME LANGUAGE, and yet after all these years, Siri in Italian is still not available in Switzerland on the Apple TV....


    tokyojimuwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 13
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,162member
    How odd...

    HomePod only launched in English speaking countries initially, then took a long time to launch in Japan.  Japan is arguably Apple’s most important international market.

    I assume Siri works just fine recognizing Japanese... so why the delay?  I’m left with regulations or cost...

    Could Apple been initially been selling HomePods for a loss, so delayed the launch?  I don’t think Apple breaks down earning enough for us to do more than speculate.

    FYI: The Apple Watch was simultaneously launched in the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada, China (including Hong Kong), France, Germany and Japan.
    Localizing software applications, which have a tiny vocabulary and collection of commands and text has always been a very costly and time consuming process. It’s very common for software applications to be launched initially with only support for the native language of the development team. Support for other languages can lag for months or longer. 

    However, even a very complex software app’s localization challenge is very trivial compared to the requirements for a natural language interaction system like Siri or Alexa. The strategies used for app localization (internationalization + localization) that promote reuse and modularity no longer apply, every language requires nearly a full stack implementation unique to the language syntax, semantics, and context. It’s simply a monumental challenge to support more than one spoken language out of the gate, and one that no company can afford to take on for a 1.0 release product that has tight time to market requirements. I think it’s simply a tough and resource intensive problem to solve, especially when the initial set of supported languages need a lot of tweaking and tuning to meet the requirements of the associated product. In other words, if English support was “perfect” then supporting other languages would be somewhat easier. But it’s not.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 13
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,373member
    My only complaint with what are the most fantastic speakers I've owned since a pair of Nightingales from the '70s that cost $2,000 is ...   that if you AirPlay video from your Mac to your Apple TV  and that is utilizing two HomePods as the sound system for the Apple TV then you can't have audio as well as video on the big screen.  I found a workaround which was to load the movie into iTunes and play it from there so everything was via WiFi, not Bluetooth thus leaving the HomePods able to remain connected to the Apple TV for Audio.  Maybe I am missing something here and would gladly like to know what I have wrong in my set up as this seems to make no sense to me.
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