According to reputable supply chain expert Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is planning to release a new version of its HomePod smart speaker.
The $99 HomePod tiny is the only model available right now. The first HomePod, which had far better sound, was discontinued last year after being reduced in price from $349 to $299.
Rumors of a HomePod 2
Apple is expected to release the next HomePod model in Q4 or Q1 of next year, according to Kuo. This will most likely be a larger model than the HomePod small, but one with features that will help bring the price down from $300.
Another possibility, though hopefully less likely, is a new HomePod mini model. Apple has added additional colors to the HomePod mini, but it doesn’t appear like a second generation is essential just yet.
HomePod design is identical
However, Kuo just stated that “there may not be much advancement in hardware design” when describing the new HomePod. Again, this may be a positive thing, given that the hardware design isn’t a huge flaw unless you need Bluetooth or line-out.
While smart speakers are “undoubtedly one of the important aspects of the home ecosystem,” Kuo believes Apple has yet to figure out how to be successful in the smart speaker space.
The market for smart speakers
That’s primarily due to Apple’s insistence on superior audio quality, which comes at a greater cost, even before factoring in Apple’s margins to make a product worthwhile.
In terms of pricing (if not functionality), Amazon Echo and Google Nest devices compete with the HomePod small, but we don’t expect Apple to develop a HomePod version that is less expensive than the HomePod tiny.
Sonos has improved its connected speaker models with voice control features since the launch of the HomePod. Sonos originally introduced voice control for music and smart features via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and now the business has built its own in-house smart assistant for music control.
Apple is reportedly working on a new version of the Apple TV set-top box, according to Kuo, with the purpose of cutting costs.