While the original HomePod was discontinued over a year ago, rumors suggest that Apple plans to release another, larger HomePod model in the future. In the meantime, the HomePod mini is likely to expand its presence by launching in more countries over time.
Read on for a roundup of the latest HomePod and HomePod mini rumors and the future of Apple’s smart home ambitions.
New HomePod with S8 chip
Apple is developing a new HomePod with the same S8 chip rumored for the Apple Watch Series 8, according to BloombergIt’s Mark Gurman.
In June, Gurman said the new HomePod would be “closer to the original HomePod” than the HomePod mini in terms of size and audio performance, and would have an “updated screen on top” with potential multi-touch functionality. No other details are known about this rumored HomePod, which according to Gurman is “unlikely to arrive until next year.”
In May, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple would release a new HomePod in Q4 2022 or Q1 2023, adding “there may not be much innovation in hardware design.” Kuo didn’t share any further details, so it’s unclear if he was referring to a new version of the HomePod or the HomePod mini.
The original HomePod stands just under seven inches tall and is equipped with the same A8 chip found in the iPhone 6, seven beamforming tweeters and six microphones. When it launched in February 2018, the full-size HomePod was priced at $349 in the US, but Apple dropped the speaker’s price to $299 in April 2019.
While early reviews of the HomePod praised the speaker’s audio quality, it was pricey and held back by Siri’s shortcomings. Sales for the HomePod were reportedly lackluster during the years it was available, but the speaker has fetched high prices on eBay since being discontinued and has become something of a collector’s item. With the right price, size, and feature set, there’s a chance a new HomePod could be more successful.
HomePod paired with Apple TV
Earlier this year, Gurman said he thinks Apple is also planning a new device that combines a HomePod, an Apple TV, and a camera. He said this combo device “would probably be at the center of Apple’s focus” on the home.
Gurman has claimed that Apple “has been developing new speakers with screens and cameras” since early 2021, which would allow the device to be used for FaceTime calls and other new features. Such a device could compete with Google’s Nest Hub and Amazon’s Echo Show in the smart home accessory market.
No further details about the HomePod/Apple TV combo device are known at this time.
HomePod Mini in more countries
Last month, Apple released software version 15.6 for the HomePod and HomePod mini. In addition to performance and stability improvements, the update added support for Siri in Swedish and Norwegian on HomePod and HomePod mini.
The addition of Swedish and Norwegian support likely means the HomePod mini will launch in Sweden and Norway in the coming months. Apple has also been testing Siri in Danish and Finnish with select HomePod mini users in recent months, so the HomePod mini could also launch in Denmark and Finland eventually. However, Danish and Finnish are not yet listed as supported languages in the HomePod mini settings.
Apple released the HomePod mini in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland in late March, about a month after rolling out Dutch support to HomePods.
Matter is an upcoming connectivity standard that will allow smart home accessories to work together seamlessly across multiple platforms, including Apple’s HomeKit, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Home. Apple says support for Matter will “come in an update later this year” across all of its software platforms.
To control Matter accessories with the Home app and Siri, a HomePod, HomePod mini, Apple TV 4K, or Apple TV HD running as a home hub will be required.