Apple HomePod Arriving in China on January 18th
Apple.com has a new listing on its Chinese store website showing that HomePod will begin shipping on January 18, 2019 (shoutout to CNET for seeing it first). Voicebot reported in December that an Apple store listing showed HomePod as shipping in 2019. Today’s update shows an official order date. The listed price is RMB 2,799 and it will be available in both White and Deep Gray. It is expected to support both Mandarin and Cantonese.
The Big Move into China
Thus far the U.S.-based voice assistant providers have been operating outside of China without device presence or language support. Similarly, the Chinese voice assistant providers have focused on the China market and have not had any significant market momentum outside of the country. Apple will be the first major global voice assistant to enter China. Cortana does support a low-priced smart speaker from Xiaomi, but Microsoft is a small player in the consumer voice assistant space. So, Apple HomePod will be the first smart speaker to truly bridge the voice assistant wall between the West and China.
The move into China provides Apple with a HomePod presence in nine countries just one year after its official launch. Apple may seem like a minor player in the smart speaker wars today, but it is actually expanding its country and language footprint faster than either Amazon or Google did in their first year after launch.
|Country||Amazon Echo||Google Home||Apple HomePod|
|Australia||Feb 2018||2017||Feb 2018|
|France||Jun 2018||2017||Jun 2018|
|Ireland||Jan 2018||Jun 2018|
|Italy||Oct 2018||Apr 2018|
|Mexico||Nov 2018||Jun 2018||Oct 2018|
|New Zealand||Feb 2018|
|Spain||Oct 2018||Jun 2018||Oct 2018|
|United Kingdom||2016||2017||Feb 2018|
|United States||2014||2016||Feb 2018|