Apple’s HomePod smart speaker is officially launching in Mainland China ($414) and Hong Kong ($357) on January 18th. It will support both Mandarin and Cantonese right out of the box, giving it an edge over its competitors by Alibaba, Baidu and Xiaomi. For those who haven’t seen one in person, the device sports a small touchscreen up top, and has seven tweeters in its base, a four-inch woofer, as well as six microphones used for voice control and acoustic optimization. Read more for a review of this smart speaker and additional information.
The smart speaker runs “audioOS”, an iOS-based OS which is specifically designed for the HomePod speaker to play audio, run the Siri voice assistant and control the device’s screen. It’s powered by an Apple A8 system-on-chip, which integrates Siri to control the speaker and other HomeKit devices, and can be used to conduct text messaging and voice calls from an iPhone. Currently, the HomePod supports only proprietary Apple platforms and technologies, including Apple Music, iTunes Store purchases and Match, iTunes podcasts, Beats 1 radio, and AirPlay, while an iOS 11 device is required for initial setup.