We could see the HomePod 2 (or HomePod Mini) smart speaker unveiled at Apple’s October event
What we’ve gleaned so far about the iPhone event on October 13th is that they’ll be reveals for other Apple hardware such as a HomePod 2. Speculation has ramped up as the event nears with the suggestion that we’re going to see a smaller version of the HomePod speaker and that it’s going to be a lot more affordable than the original HomePod.
Here’s everything we know so far about the HomePod 2. Or should that be the HomePod Mini?
When will the HomePod Mini be released?
Recent leaks have placed an announcement for the HomePod 2 at the iPhone event on October 13th.
Part of this thought process is down due to Apple removing Bose, Sonos and Ultimate Ears wireless speakers from its store, leaving space for just its own products. That’s a big indication that they’re getting ready to release some new audio hardware and want all that space for themselves.
Related: Best smart speakers
How much will the HomePod 2 cost?
A price of around $150-$200 was pegged by MacRumours back in 2018. A few days before the Apple event it’s been reported it could be as low as $99, which would put in direct competition with Amazon’s Echo speakers and the Google Nest Audio speaker.
It seems as if Apple is ready to jump into the cheaper side of the market that’s been dominated by the likes of Amazon and Google.
What will the HomePod Mini look like?
There have been multiple reports since 2018 that the HomePod 2 won’t be a full-sized replacement. Instead it’ll be a smaller version dubbed the HomePod Mini. The latest leak from the usually reliable L0vetodream adds further fuel to the fire that we will be seeing a HomePod Mini.
Other potential design routes include a patent that revealed controls fused into the design, which light up when needed. This may also factor into another patent Apple lodged in 2017 regarding gesture controls. If it’s smaller then perhaps there’s no need for physical buttons. There have also been rumours of Face ID integration, too.
What features does the HomePod Mini have?
Given the HomePod uses the 2014 A8 chip and that Apple is on A13 Bionic chip, the A8 is starting to look dated. Recent news says it will use the S5 processor, which is the same as the one that’s in the Apple Watch Series 5.
We suppose that would make sense, given it seems this is a smaller version of the HomePod. Jon Prosser has said that the HomePod 2 will feature the U1 chip, and that chip is purported to be coming to several new products including the AirPods Studio.
What’s so important about the U1 chip? Well, according to Prosser it’s down to UWB (Ultra Wide-Band) technology that Apple is bringing through to its products, and is stated as being as important as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, allowing Apple products to transfer data faster as well enable more accurate location tracking. The HomePod Mini would act as a UWB hub in the home, interacting with other UWB compatible devices.
HomePod continues to work within its own gated community. Bloomberg did report that Apple is looking to add additional music services, so perhaps integration with other streaming services is on the way.
Siri has lost a bit of ground compared to its rivals. As such Apple has acquired AI startups, and the Cupertino-based company is thought to be revamping its strategy with regards to smart home services.
The ‘smart’ features could also do with a facelift too. Siri is not carried by either Ring or Nest, and HomeKit is supported by fewer devices. If Apple wants mass market penetration, it’ll eventually have to open up.
Should you wait for the Apple HomePod 2?
The original HomePod was a solid first gen smart speaker from Apple, with the best audio performance of any smart speaker out there. But it’s not as smart as others, nor does it buck the trend of Apple’s iOS walled garden.
If you’re invested in Apple’s physical and digital ecosystem, then the HomePod is most certainly designed with you in mind, and it’s likely the next HomePod will carry over similar traits.
If Apple can drum up a number of improvements in the smart arena, drop the price and keeps the audio performance, Apple could be onto a winner with a HomePod Mini.
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