When it comes to smart speakers, Apple has so far launched the HomePod (announced in 2017) and the HomePod mini (announced in 2020) – and the rumor is that we might get another device from the same series before the turn of the year.
This comes from reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (opens in new tab), who says that a new Apple HomePod will show up in the last quarter of 2022 or the first quarter of 2023. That stretch covers from October 2022 to March 2023.
What Kuo doesn't say is whether this will be a full-sized HomePod or the miniature version. Apple discontinued the bigger version of the smart speaker back in March of last year, which makes us think we might be getting a new HomePod mini. But there's always a chance Apple could bring back the original in an updated form.
Apple would release a new version of HomePod in 4Q22-1Q23, and there may not be much innovation in hardware design. Smart speakers are undoubtedly one of the essential elements of the home ecosystem, but I think Apple is still figuring out how to succeed in this market.May 20, 2022
Kuo doesn't reveal much about what the next HomePod might bring with it, but he does say "there may not be much innovation in hardware design". In other words, the new model is going to look similar to what we've seen before from Apple.
That's perhaps not surprising – there aren't really that many ways to design a smart speaker, and the current HomePod aesthetic works well enough. However, we have also heard rumors that Apple could be working on a HomePod with a display attached.
Amazon and Google already make smart speakers with integrated screens of course, but perhaps Apple isn't ready to go that far in 2022 or 2023. As always, as soon as there's any official news on this, we'll bring you all the details here on TechRadar.
Analysis: Apple needs a better smart speaker
As Ming-Chi Kuo himself points out, smart speakers are "one of the essential elements of the home ecosystem", which means Apple really needs to have a HomePod or two on sale. The company is still "figuring out" how to succeed with smart home kit, Kuo says.
We'd agree with that assessment: our list of the features we want to see on a HomePod 2 is quite an extensive one, and this time around we're hoping for Bluetooth connectivity, access to more music services, and better performance from Siri.
Siri has long lagged behind Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant in the smart digital assistant stakes – it's just not as far-reaching or as intuitive as its rivals. And it very much prefers using Apple services and nothing else.
It's a similar story when it comes to the smart home more broadly. Alexa and Google devices work with so many more devices than Apple HomeKit does, which is a shortcoming Apple is going to have to address if it's going to catch up.