Update: The support article has been pulled and is now unavailable. You’ll have to make your own mind up whether that means it was a case of incorrect metadata (as explained below) or whether this was a blunder on Apple’s part that leaked an imminent Japanese HomePod launch. Original story below for reference.
About eight hours ago, a strange support document was posted by Apple. It listed the HomePod’s available audio sources (copy and pasted verbatim from the tech specs page) and not much else.
Interestingly, though, clicking the Supported Languages link reveals the following message: ‘English, 日本語,Français,Deutsch,English’. This suggests that HomePod is launching soon in France, Germany and Japan. However, we have dug into this story and it’s not quite as clear cut.
Apple has already said that HomePod would support France and Germany in the spring (a vague timeframe which technically doesn’t end until 21 June). So whilst Japanese is the only new morsel here, it would normally indicate an imminent release in these three regions. This would be a welcome expansion from the HomePod’s current supported regions of the US, UK and Australia.
However, 9to5Mac believes that this support document is actually the result of some kind of admin error. The document is listed as a ‘download’ in the kbase, despite no new HomePod firmware actually being available. The text of the document also does not mention anything about an actual download — it’s just a badly-formatted list of the HomePod’s audio sources.
This makes us pretty circumspect of taking the information inside the document at face value, as it appears this article was mistakenly mis-categorised in the first case. This makes us doubt the validity of any of its related metadata. Moreover, translations of this document into other locales are not actually published; it’s only available in English. Also note the obvious blunder where ‘English’ is repeated twice in the list of supposedly-supported languages.
It’s a weird one for sure. As some other sites are covering this, we thought we’d post what we found and water down the hype train a little. We reached out to Apple for comment on this story more than eight hours ago as soon as this URL went live, and we’ll let you know if they respond and want to clarify what is going on.