Cheaper HomePod might lead Apple’s push for lower prices

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A cheaper version of the HomePod could drop below the $200 mark.
A cheaper version of the HomePod could drop below the $200 mark.
Photo: Apple

Apple is prepping more-affordable versions of its new HomePod smart speaker and other pricey devices, according to an unconfirmed report out of Asia.

Apple’s business model is to offer top quality at high prices, which leads to Cupertino’s astonishing profitability. But less-expensive versions of Apple’s signature products could broaden the appeal of many of the company’s offerings.

Budget HomePod in the works?

People love Apple’s smart speaker, but the $349 price puts it out of the reach of all but a few. A version between $150 and $200 will change that, if a report from Taiwan’s Economic Daily News is correct.

This unconfirmed report doesn’t say what features will change to lower the cost that significantly. However, a separate research note from Rosenblatt analyst Jun Zhang says the upcoming cheaper HomePod will be smaller.

This isn’t expected to be a replacement for the current HomePod. It would be a lower-priced alternative that’s within the grasp of a far wider potential audience, enabling Apple to better compete with the Amazon Echo and Dot smart speakers.

Cheaper iPhone coming too?

An iPhone with a 6.1-inch display and a cost between $649 and $749 is also supposedly in the offing. The original iPhone SE hasn’t been updated in almost two years, so a replacement is widely anticipated.

This could be the second-generation iPhone SE that appeared in previous rumors. The device reportedly will offer wireless charging, but other features remain a matter for speculation.

More-affordable MacBook Air?

Keep your fingers crossed for a lower-cost MacBook Air..
Keep your fingers crossed for a lower-cost MacBook Air.
Image: Apple

The report coming from Asia indicates that Apple will introduce a new MacBook Air this year that costs between $799 and $899. That’s down from the current version, which starts at $999.

This is based on a research note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that made headlines earlier this week. (His note did not reveal exactly how Apple would lower the price.)

Even more inexpensive iPad?

Last but not least, Apple is supposedly prepping a 9.7-inch iPad that will go for just $259. This apparently would replace the budget iOS tablet that debuted last year at $329.

This rumor first surfaced last fall. Beyond just pulling in price-conscious consumers, an iPad this inexpensive could help Apple compete against Chromebooks in the education market.

At the same time, Apple reportedly is working on a high-end iPad Pro with Face ID to debut this summer.