Your HomePod will likely get left out of the Apple Intelligence party – here's why

HomePod 2 hero
The HomePod 2 will have a new rival from Sonos (Image credit: Apple)

There's no surer endorsement that AI is the buzzword of 2024 than Apple essentially claiming-and-renaming it as Apple Intelligence – which the Cupertino giant announced on June 10, leading us to compile a comprehensive list of Apple iPads, iPhones and Macs that'll support Apple's own brand of AI

But one bit of Apple kit that's reportedly being left off the list is Apple's own smart speaker, the (now seemingly humble) HomePod 2 – and of course the HomePod mini

In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, respected analyst Mark Gurman said that Apple is prepping Apple Intelligence for its Vision Pro, aka the Apple AR headset that just turned one year old – but not until next year. As reported by MacRumors, this is a top-tier Apple device boasting sufficient memory to run on-device Apple Intelligence features – including that next-gen version of Siri I've been hoping for (in my HomePod). 

But according to the MacRumors report, Gurman does not expect the ‌HomePod‌ to offer Apple Intelligence, (even, presumably, the potential future HomePod that could act more like a dedicated soundbar) and thinks Tim Cook's behemoth is focusing instead on "an entirely new robotic device with a display that includes Apple Intelligence at its core."

Why no Apple-Intelligent HomePods? 

Apple's Craig Federighi presents Apple Intelligence at the 2024 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

Siri, can you be Apple Intelligent on this?  (Image credit: Apple)

HomePod owners may be understandably miffed that Apple's all-new multimodal, cross-platform approach to today's AI computing trend could completely forego their Apple smart speaker. 

After all, the February 2022-issue HomePod 2 wasn't cheap, at $299 / £299 / AU$479 and despite our praise for its sound quality and design, it's no secret that Apple's flagship smart speaker is lagging behind when it comes to smartness. (In case you missed it, Siri forgot how to tell the time on HomePod recently). 

So why is this (probably) happening? Well, Apple Intelligence requires a minimum of 8GB of memory, but both ‌HomePod‌ and HomePod mini only include 1GB of memory. According to MacRumors' source, the current ‌HomePod‌ is "too low-volume a product to waste the engineering time" to bring Apple Intelligence to the device.

While the cheaper HomePod mini features proudly in our roundup of the best smart speakers you can buy, the notion that Apple won't be upgrading the speakers' smarts with its latest proprietary Intelligence will be seen by many as confirmation that the iPhone giant is unconcerned about its dedicated audio products. 

It's not all bad news: Apple recently announced (albeit fairly quietly) that you can curate a shared playlist queue with HomePods across multiple iPhones using Apple's SharePlay. Oh, and AirPlay now supports Dolby Atmos on your HomePods. But it's not the super-Siri involvement I was hoping for. 

To clarify, Siri did get its biggest-ever upgrade as part of iOS 18 (announced at WWDC 2024) including new ChatGPT powers thanks to an OpenAI partnership, plus deep integration with supported iPhones, iPads and Macs. But because the new version of Siri is powered by Apple Intelligence, which gives the virtual voice assistant features like 'on-screen awareness' to make it work better with your apps and even a visual makeover (with a glowing light around the edges of your iPhone's screen which you'll 'squish' to operate), it's something of a walled garden, reserved for Apple's most elite devices. 

I accept that HomePod customers are small-fry compared to AirPods and iPhone-owners. But loyal Apple Music subscribers (and indeed HomePod lovers) do exist – I am one of them. A lack of Apple Intelligence ecosystem support in Apple's once pioneering wireless speakers could still present an issue for fans waiting for September to roll around for the iPhone 16iPhone 16 PlusiPhone 16 Pro, and iPhone 16 Pro Max.

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Becky Scarrott
Audio Editor

Becky became Audio Editor at TechRadar in 2024, but joined the team in 2022 as Senior Staff Writer, focusing on all things hi-fi. Before this, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.