According to reputable supply chain expert Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple plans to release a brand-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 from $349 to $299.
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Kuo added, Apple is expected to release the next HomePod model in Q4 or Q1 of next year. This will most likely be a more extensive model than the HomePod mini, even one with features that will help bring the price down from $300.
Another possibility, though perhaps less likely, is a redesigned HomePod tiny model. Apple has added new colors to the HomePod mini, but it does not appear that a second generation is essential.
However, Kuo reiterated that “there might not be much advancement in hardware design” when describing the new HomePod. Again, this could be a good thing, given that the hardware part is not a massive flaw unless you need Bluetooth or line-out.
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While Kuo considers smart speakers to be “undoubtedly one of the important aspects of the home ecosystem,” he believes Apple has yet to figure out how to be competitive in the smart speaker space.
This is mainly due to Apple’s insistence on superior audio quality, which comes at a higher cost, even before factoring in Apple’s margins to make a product worthwhile.
In terms of pricing (if not features), Google Nest and Amazon Echo products compete with the HomePod mini, but we don’t expect Apple to develop a HomePod version that is less expensive than the HomePod tiny.
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Sonos has improved its connected speaker models with voice control functionalities since the launch of the HomePod. Sonos first introduced voice control for audio and smart features via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Now, the business has built its own in-house smart assistant for music control. Apple is also building a new version of the Apple TV set-top box to decrease the cost structure.
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Kuo’s latest prognosis is a breath of fresh air. Despite its higher price than Amazon and Google’s options, we were great admirers of the original HomePod.
The HomePod small was a much-needed option, but it should not be Apple’s only smart speaker. What is more, small in comparison to what?
We are excited to discover more about this new HomePod model under development, which will be released in Quater four of 2022 and Quater one in 2023.
Larger HomePods are ideal for the living room, while smaller models are more suitable for usage around the home. Hopefully, Apple has discovered a way to bring the quality of the first HomePod closer to the masses without the exorbitant price tag that constrained its popularity.
Slava is a man of mystery and no-one seems to know exactly where he is at any point in time. When he isn't enjoying writing about all things audio and technical he can be found researching his next project of interest. The man never rests.