Apple HomePod is now available for purchase in three new regions - Canada, France, and Germany - following the launch of the Siri-enabled speaker in the US, the UK, and Australia in February. The HomePod is available in Space Grey and White colour variants, priced at $449 (roughly Rs. 23,200) in Canada and EUR 349 (roughly Rs. 27,500) in France and Germany. It is available for purchase via Apple's online store and the Apple Store app for iPhone and iPad. Also, the device can be bought at the company's retail stores and select authorised resellers in each country.
Alongside the new country rollouts, the Apple HomePod is now able to understand French and German languages. Last month, Apple had released a software update to the HomePod that enables Siri to speak in French, German, and Canadian English. The company had also said that the HomePod will arrive in Canada, France, and Germany starting June 18. Apple had said that support for Canadian French will arrive later this year. The software update, paired with the new iOS 11.4, also introduced support for stereo sound and multi-room audio via AirPlay 2.
Specifically for HomePod users, the iOS 11.4 update brought support for setting up HomePod stereo pair using your iPhone or iPad. This advanced pairing functionality senses the location of your HomePod in the room to balance its sound. There is also an advanced beamforming that is claimed to provide wider soundstage than a traditional stereo pair. Notably, your HomePod will automatically receive the update to support stereo pairs unless auto updates are disabled in the Home app on your iPhone or iPad. The iOS 11.4 update also brings an upgraded Siri experience. You can now use Siri on your HomePod to send a message, add reminders and notes, and check for calendar appointments
The HomePod hasn't been a huge sales hit for Apple, as it launched two years after Amazon's Alexa and the Google Home started dominating the smart-speaker market. Apple hasn't released sales figures for its speaker, but estimates say the HomePod holds about 3 percent of the overall market in the US, an earlier report claimed. It was also reported that the company had lowered sales forecasts and cut orders for the HomePod smart speaker due to its slow market performance.
In terms of what's next for HomePod, Apple is reportedly planning a cheaper version of its Siri-powered HomePod smart speaker, though it will be under the Beats brand.