A replacement for the original, full-size HomePod is reportedly in development. The smart speaker is expected to provide better audio performance than the current HomePod mini.
And it might debut as early as fall 2022.
Bring on the HomePod 2
The first-generation HomePod debuted in 2018, and received equal parts praise for its audio quality and criticism for its $349 price. The HomePod mini came out two years later, and while it doesn’t sound as nice as the original, it’s good enough for a $99 smart speaker.
Apple discontinued the full-size HomePod shortly after the mini version launched, but leaks indicate a replacement is in the offing. Tipsters point to this being a HomePod 2, as it will “be closer to the original HomePod in terms of size and audio performance rather than a new HomePod mini,” according to Bloomberg.
There’s undoubtedly demand for such a product. As proof: a market for the discontinued model has sprung up.
Apple’s next smart speaker supposedly will have an improved touchscreen on top, and will run the same Apple S8 processor in the 2022 Apple Watch.
TF International securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo points to the next HomePod launching either in the fourth quarter of 2022 or in the first quarter of 2023. Bloomberg concurs. Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 14 at a September 7 press event — it’s possible the smart speaker will be part of that presentation if it’s on the slate for 2022.
Pricing is a matter of guesswork. A cost above the HomPod mini’s $99 seems like a safe bet. However, Apple surely won’t repeat a mistake by asking $349 for the HomePod 2.
But wait, there’s more
HomePod 2 might not be the only such home entertainment product on Apple’s drawing board. Bloomberg says Cupertino is also working on “a device that combines a HomePod, Apple TV and FaceTime camera.”
A HomePod TV (if that’s what it’s called) connected to someone’s home entertainment system would provide a way to stream Apple Music and Apple TV+, while also allowing the user to make video calls on a large-screen TV.
It’ll apparently run homeOS, a mystery operating system that gets occasional mentions in job listings.
At this point, nobody expects this product to reach customers before 2023. Pricing remains a mystery.