Photo by Apple
The HomePod Is Slated to Debut in Japan
It’s official: after appearing in stores in Canada, France, and Germany in June 2018, the HomePod is slated to debut in Japan on 23 August 2019 (via 9to5Mac). It will retail for ¥32,800 or about $310 US, which is close to the $299 price in the US. As in other countries, it will come in white and space gray. If you read Japanese, you can learn more at Apple’s Web site.
The HomePod’s Japanese launch and new features in iOS 13, such as Handoff support, indicate that Apple is far from giving up on its smart speaker platform, despite data suggesting that it’s nowhere near as popular as competitors like Amazon’s Echo line or Google Home. Still, why is it taking Apple so long to roll out the HomePod internationally?
I may actually get one soon. Curious if any of you have one and like it?
They’re not available in Ireland, but I can travel to the UK and pick one up handily enough. I have friends with Alexas all over their house, the bedroom to the kitchen which creeps me out no end, but they swear by them.
We have two pairs - one in the office and one in the living room/kitchen which is also used for AppleTV speakers. We like them, we are not keen on Alexa listening all the time so Siri works for us.
Perhaps it might not in the future depending on what the news brings regarding Apple transcriptions.
Audio wise they are pretty good and mostly just work, Apple Music is far less painful than iTunesMatch since it shares better, our iCloud & store accounts are all in different countries as a family.
Did you notice a big difference in having a pair? Does it work well?
I have a pair of HomePods set up as a stereo pair in my living room. However, while Mac iTunes sees the stereo pair, the MacOS system only sees the individual speakers. In other words, I can use the Homepods for remote iTunes play from by Macs for iTunes music, video, etc., bu8t can’t use it for other Mac sources, including media accessed via a web browser or app other than iTunes. See https://sixcolors.com/post/2018/12/wish-list-stereo-homepod-support-for-macos/. I remember seeing some reports that the situation had not changed in the early betas for Catalina, but can’t locate any links one way or the other.
Note that subject to these limitations, they work great for me.
And does iOS see a stereo pair? Or the Siri invoked music on HomePod itself?
IOS does see the stereo pair. That’s why it’s a major surprise that MacOS doesn’t.
I have a pair in our bedroom. They’re not the best speakers I’ve ever heard, but they’re pretty good. Occasionally one or the other will decide it’s too tired to go on and drop out, but that happens rarely. I usually play from my iPhone or iPad to give me a little more control, but using Siri works fine so long as you keep it simple. (It’s hopeless to try to get Siri to play a specific piece of classical music.)
Yep. And sometimes not just classical and sometimes its just odd the choices. If I ask it for Cortez the Killer, it will default to the excellent version by Built to Spill. If I want the original I have to explicitly state ‘by Neil Young’.
Sounds like it’s worth going for the pair of HomePods, you both went there.
Definitely in the living room it is noticeable but that is a largish space - living, dining and kitchen, one was ok but two is better.
The office is a lot smaller and when you are in the right place it makes a difference but off that point it is not so useful but we have three seating areas in there so overall it was worth doing. But I would have to move my desk 3 feet into the middle of the room to get the best audio and the room is not that big… or my desk is too big
It is nice to be able to walk out of work and into the kitchen and have the same podcast/music playing, I mostly drive them off iPhone/iPad unless it is something we start when we sit down to eat.
Two is definitely nice to have but we bought the extra ones at a BlackFriday sale so paying full retail might change the equation.
Good to know, we have a large open living space which would be the destination.
Our offices are small and my 2019 iMac’s internal speakers are, surprisingly, more than enough.
We work for different companies so a neutral shared speaker solution is preferable.
We have a HomePod in the dining room, which makes its audio available anywhere downstairs, and another in the bedroom. Occasionally I have them play the same thing, but most of the time we don’t go between the two areas enough for it to matter.
We use them almost entirely for audio, with the occasional kitchen timer thrown in as well. If we’re having a call with relatives during dinner, we’ll use it as a speakerphone too, since it’s better than plopping an iPhone in the middle of the table. The only time we ever ask Siri for anything else is when we’re demoing it.
Switzerland: still waiting for the HomePod, as we also wait for Siri on Apple TV (it might be the same reason).
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