Apple HomePod to launch in China, useful listening bug is patched out in U.S.

The week is kicking off with a pair of updates for the Apple HomePod. First, the smart speaker’s international footprint is growing. The HomePod will launch in China and Hong Kong on Friday, January 18. It will face competition from regional tech companies that have established solid footholds in the market, but the HomePod does have a few distinct features, such as support for both Mandarin and Cantonese languages, that could set it apart.

The other development is a shift in how many places the same Apple Music account can be playing. Since launch, many users were able to have music playing on their Apple HomePods while simultaneously playing a track on a smartphone or laptop. Over the past few days, though, users have been reporting on Reddit that this capability for parallel streaming had been removed from individual Apple IDs. One poster said an Apple representative called the ability to parallel stream a bug that had recently been fixed. Going forward, only family plans will be able to use different devices to play music at the same time.

Anna Washenko