Apple Daily Report: HomePod has 6% of U.S. smart speaker market (and more news)

Since Steve and I can’t cover everything, at the end of each week day, we’ll offer this wrap-up of news items you should check out. 

Apple’s HomePod had 6% of the 66-million U.S. smart speaker market in December, according to new data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. The data is based on a survey of 500 Americans with a HomePod, Amazon Echo, or Google Home. Amazon and Google are way ahead of Apple with 70% and 24%, respectively, of the smart speaker market, according to CIRP

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Apple Pay now works with cards from HCBC France and BNP Paribas. The two banks join the 25 card issuers already supporting Apple’s mobile wallet service in France, notes 9to5Mac.

New York City: Apple is in “advanced talks” for about 60,000 square feet at 55 Hudson Yards — the nearly finished tower at 11th Avenue and West 34th Street, according to the New York Post. The article adds that the tech giant and Related, a real estate firm, are also negotiating for Apple to have a large retail presence somewhere in the Hudson Yards complex.

Speaking of Apple retail stores, the company may be planning a big upgrade to its retail store in Vancouver’s Pacific Centre shopping mall. Daily Hive Vancouver reports that the mall owners are considering an expansive, multilevel glass pavilion to replace the mall’s rotunda entrance. The new entrance would be designed to match Apple’s retail store aesthetics.

Taoyuan’s Department of Labor will launch an investigation next week into allegations that Apple supplier Career Technology forced 200 full-time employees to sign voluntary resignation papers before the Lunar New Year, reports the China Post.

Neiman Marcus Group has announced the appointment of Ginger Mollo as senior vice president, Retail Experience – West Coast. Most recently, she was the global lead for advancing the culture of Apple within the store environment through the development of an elite sales team and innovative training tools.

WildBrain, one of the world's largest and most popular networks of children's videos on YouTube, has expanded its footprint with the launch of four new channels on leading AVOD platforms Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. The new channels include a WildBrain hub channel, as well as three curated channels dedicated to preschool content, kids' action and Degrassi, each collecting together genre-specific and age-appropriate entertainment for young people to enjoy.