HomePod is finally on its way to Japan

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HomePod market share
It will be on sale “this summer.”
Photo: Apple

Apple is gearing up to launch HomePod in Japan — more than two years after the device got its first unveiling.

Smart speaker shoppers will be able to pick one up in the coming weeks for 32,800 yen (approx. $301). HomePod will then be available in a total of 11 countries.

Despite glowing reviews for its sound quality, HomePod hasn’t exactly been a smash hit for Apple. Its high price tag, coupled with Siri’s inability to keep up with its rivals, makes it a pretty tough sell.

Apple reduced HomePod’s price tag from $349 to $299 back in April in an effort to boost sales. Now it is expanding its availability.

HomePod arrives in Japan this summer

Apple’s website for Japan was this week updated to confirm HomePod will arrive “this summer.” It doesn’t have a more specific release date yet, but we should hear more soon.

HomePod first launched in just three markets — the U.S., the U.K., and Australia — when it landed in February 2018. It hit Canada, France, and Germany a few months later, then Mexico and Spain.

HomePod’s most recent expansion was to China and Hong Kong back in January. It’s on sale in just 10 countries today.

Can Apple make HomePod a success?

An April report from Canalys revealed that smart speaker sales could surpass 200 million units in 2019. But as things stand, HomePod commands a tiny share of that market.

Apple’s speaker sold 1.6 million units during the fourth quarter of 2018, while Amazon sold 13.7 million Echo devices.

Apple will surely be hoping that bringing HomePod to new markets will improve adoption. But it still has to combat the common assumption that HomePod is just a smart speaker.

HomePod is wired for sound

Many consumers still see HomePod as an Amazon Echo competitor, which makes its $299 price tag hard to swallow. But Apple built it to be a stellar speaker above all else.

Some have compared HomePod’s sound quality to speakers that typically cost tens of thousands of dollars. That makes it a steal if sound quality is most important to you.

Would you recommend HomePod to Apple fans in Japan?