Following hot on the heels of the rumors that Apple is planning to launch a more affordable MacBook Air and a cheaper iPad this year, we’re now seeing speculation that a more affordable HomePod could be in the works too.
A recent report from Economic Daily (via Macrumors (opens in new tab)) suggests that the cheaper HomePod will launch in the United States in the second half of 2018 for $150 to $200 (around £110 to £145), which is significantly lower than the device’s current $349/ £319 price point.
Released earlier this year, the HomePod has received both high-praise and cutting criticism and, as a smart speaker, it’s a hard sell against the lower-priced offerings from Google and Amazon. Apple is, however, selling it as a high-quality speaker first-and-foremost which helps it stand apart.
It’s not clear whether this lower-priced option would be a cut-price version of the current model offering lesser sound quality, or whether it’ll be a brand new device along the lines of the Echo Dot or Google Home Mini.
The miniature model makes more sense as it has more chance of retaining its signature sound quality relative to other speakers on the market. At $150 to $200, though, it’d still be a fair bit more costly than the miniature offerings from competitors.
Given all of these lower-price device rumors it seems plausible that Apple is intending to create a more budget range of devices, while continuing to extend its high-end offerings.
While the cheaper iPad and MacBook Air are expected to make their debut very soon, the HomePod is somewhat further off which means we might not see any sign of it until WWDC in June, or even later at the traditional September iPhone launch.