HomePod Launching in Japan and Taiwan This Summer

Apple has announced that its HomePod speaker will be available to order in Japan and Taiwan later this summer.


The speaker has had a slow worldwide rollout since launching in February 2018, with availability currently limited to the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, China, and Hong Kong.

In April, Apple lowered the price of the HomePod from $349 to $299 in the United States. As of the fourth quarter of 2018, the speaker had an estimated worldwide market share of just four percent, according to Strategy Analytics.

Pricing will be ¥32,800 in Japan and NT$9,900 in Taiwan.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Tags: Japan, Taiwan
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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Apple Xinyi A13 Taipei Store Previewed Ahead of Official Opening This Saturday

Apple's second retail store in Taiwan opens on Saturday, June 15, and today the company shared additional details of the kind of experience customers can expect when they enter Apple Xinyi A13.


Located in Taipei's bustling Xinyi District on an tree-lined open-air plaza, the new store features signature Apple architecture not seen in Taiwan before, including a two-story, free-standing pavilion design with a carbon fiber reinforced roof, similar to Apple's Chicago, Illinois store.

Entering through doors of the floor-to-ceiling glass facade, visitors will find the usual mix of Apple products and services on offer between the two stone pillars, and will be able to receive personalized technical support on their devices in Taiwan's first Genius Grove, under a comfortable canopy of trees.


Visitors can also descend the two marble staircases to discover the store's underground video-wall equipped Forum space, where artist-led Today at Apple sessions will be hosted on a daily basis for the first time in Taiwan. These will include sessions on art and design, photography, video, music, coding, app development and more.

The adjacent Xinyi A13 shopping mall is still being constructed by the Far Eastern Group but is expected to open in September, which will also allow visitors to enter the Apple store at basement level.


Apple says over half of the 155 team members at Apple Xinyi A13 come from stores across the region and collectively speak more than 10 languages. The company is also touting the store's Creative Pros – "the liberal arts equivalent to Apple's technical Geniuses" – who are experts in one or more areas of the arts and ready to pass along their knowledge to Apple users.

Apple Xinyi A13 opens Saturday at 10.00 a.m., and Apple is expecting big business at the new flagship store – nearly 4 million people have already visited the first Apple Store in Taiwan since Apple Taipei 101 opened almost two years ago.


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Taiwan’s Second Apple Retail Store Opening Soon in Xinyi District of Taipei

Apple has begun promoting the opening of its second retail store in Taiwan. Located right outside Taipei's Xinyi A13 shopping mall on a tree-lined plaza, the standalone construction had promotional graphics installed on its temporary hoarding overnight.


The logo on display is a play on the word "Taipei" in Mandarin, with the Apple logo inserted into the first character. The slogan on the facade says "Creativity starts here, Apple Xinyi A13."

From the outside, the building appears to be a single-story design, but likely conceals interior staircases leading down to an underground floor, with a thin carbon fiber roof held up by two stone pillars and a curved floor-to-ceiling glass facade, which would give it an affinity with Apple's existing store in Chicago, Michigan.

The adjacent Xinyi A13 shopping mall is still being constructed by the Far Eastern Group but is expected to open in September, so there's a chance the new Apple store will open to the public around the same time.

The new store is within 15 minutes' walking distance of Apple's first Taiwan store at Taipei 101 shopping mall in the Xinyi district, which opened in July 2017. Apple has reportedly confirmed that the opening of the new store won't affect the operation of Apple Taipei 101.

(Thanks, Andrew!)


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Apple Maps Transit Directions Now Available in Taiwan

Apple recently updated its Maps app to add transit directions and data for Taiwan, one of the locations where hints of transit support surfaced months ago.

Maps users in Taiwan can now select public transportation routes when navigating across the country, with transit options available in Taipei, Kaohsiung, and other cities.


Support is available for the Taiwan Railway and Taiwan High Speed Rail, as well as for city-specific transit options like the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit and Taipei Metro.

Transit directions were first added to Apple Maps in 2015 as part of iOS 9. At launch, transit information was only available in a handful of cities, but Apple has been working hard to expand the feature to additional locations. Transit information is now live in dozens of cities and countries around the world, with a full list available on Apple's iOS 11 Feature Availability website.

(Thanks, Benjamén!)


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iPhone Movie ‘The Great Buddha+’ Receives Ten Golden Horse Nominations

Taiwanese movie "The Great Buddha+", a dark comedy shot extensively on an iPhone 6 Plus, has picked up ten nominations in the Golden Horse Awards, including best feature film and best new director (via Variety).

Directed by Huang Hsin-yao and produced and lensed by acclaimed photographer Chung Mung-hong, the black-and-white film follows the voyeuristic antics of a pair of small-town Taiwanese nobodies, highlighting Taiwanese social issues in the process.


The Golden Horse Awards, which will be announced on November 25 in Taipei, are often considered one of the most prestigious film awards for Mandarin-language cinema, with movies from Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong regularly vying for honors.

In the running for the best film prize this year are "The Great Buddha+", "The Bold, The Corrupt, and The Beautiful", "Free and Easy", "Love Education", and "Angels Wear White", which played recently in Venice and Toronto.

Tags: China, Taiwan

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