Is Apple preparing to shake up its lackluster smart home lineup?
As first reported by Bloomberg analyst Mark Gurman in his latest Power On newsletter, the tech giant is supposedly working on “at least four” new smart home products – with a HomePod 2, an updated HomePod mini and several never-before-seen devices expected to be among that number.
Not all of the in-development devices will make it to market, Gurman suggests, but it's thought that the new HomePod and HomePod mini will be joined by a kitchen-based smart display and a living room device designed to connect an Apple TV, camera and HomePod.
The first of the latter two devices is described as being a smart speaker bearing a screen “resembling an iPad” – which sounds, to us, like it could be Apple’s attempt to rival Amazon’s flagship Echo Show home assistant.
Gurman’s report marks the first time we’ve heard either device mentioned in detail online – though rumors of a speaker-sized Apple TV have been swirling for several months now – and he writes that at least one of them could arrive late next year or in early 2024.
As for news of the HomePod 2 (codenamed B620), Gurman had previously joined Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in reporting its ongoing development. The device is expected to run the same S8 chip as the Apple Watch 8, and is slated to arrive towards the end of this year.
It remains unclear what upgrades might be headed the way of a refreshed HomePod mini, though we’d anticipate a form factor redesign and the addition of Dolby Atmos Spatial Audio support (a feature boasted by its larger sibling).
Apple discontinued the HomePod proper in March of last year to focus on the upkeep of the mini, which (it’s presumed) enjoyed far stronger sales in the year following its October 2020 launch. It therefore came as a surprise to hear that the original HomePod might be getting an upgrade before the mini – though both devices now appear in line for a successor.
As mentioned, the HomePod 2 (or whatever Apple ends up calling it) is expected to arrive either late this year or early 2023. For everything we know so far about a sequel to Apple’s flagship smart home device, head over to our dedicated hub.