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What could be in store for the return of the big HomePod?


The big HomePod could be back soon. But how pricey and how functional will it be?
The beloved big HomePod could be back soon. But how pricey and how functional will it be?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple plans to produce an updated version of the HomePod as soon as the fourth quarter of 2022 or the first quarter of 2023, supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Friday.

As reliable as Kuo can be, little other information exists beyond speculation. But that’s part of the fun.

A lot of folks are jonesing for an Apple smart speaker that goes beyond the HomePod mini. The original HomePod, while much more expensive, earned a great reputation for sound quality before Apple killed it in 2021. So naturally, Apple fans are interested in a successor, possibly with new features.

HomePod mini’s new color options are available to order now


HomePod mini breaks out in a burst of colors
HomePod mini will soon debut in three new colors: orange, yellow, and blue. That’s in addition to white and space gray.
Photo: Apple

Apple today confirmed that its new color options for HomePod mini are now available to order in a small number of markets, including the U.S., Canada and Mexico. They will roll out in more territories, including the U.K., later this month.

HomePod mini is still priced at $99 in yellow, orange, and blue. The new color options are functionally identical to the earlier white and space gray models, with no internal alterations to the device.

HomePod mini’s new color options could hit US next week, Europe later


HomePod mini breaks out in a burst of colors
Get yours in orange, yellow or blue.
Photo: Apple

HomePod mini’s new color options, which were introduced during Apple’s big MacBook Pro event on October 18, will go on sale in the U.S. next week, according to a new report. Fans in Europe will have to wait a little longer.

The new color options include orange, yellow and blue. Aside from the fresh lick of paint, however, the new smart speakers are identical to the original.

HomePod smart speaker had a great quarter in the US


HomePod mini
The HomePod mini likely had a lot to do with it.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

HomePod shipments in the United States increased 180% year-on-year in the last quarter, eclipsing the growth of smart speaker makers Amazon and Google during the period, market intelligence firm Omdia reports.

While Apple still lags behind the other two companies on shipments, it is looking more competitive than it has at any point in the history of the HomePod so far. That’s particularly impressive when considering that this was a rough three-month period for smart speakers in the US, whose growth is stalling.

Pint-size Sonos Roam speaker goes anywhere your iPhone does


Pint-size Sonos Roam speaker goes anywhere your iPhone does
Sonos Roam connects to your Apple devices over more than Bluetooth.
Photo: Sonos

The Sonos Roam is a new high-end smart speaker with support for Apple AirPlay 2, so it plays nicely with iPhone or other Apple computers.

The tubular accessory weights in just under a pound, but Sonos says, “precision-engineered acoustics deliver the clarity, depth, and fullness you would expect from a much larger speaker.”

Siri activated by ‘a city’ or ‘OK, Jerry’ reveals study of false wake words


Siri Lights
Accidental wake words affects all the major smart assistants.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

“Hey Siri” can be inadvertently activated by other wake words including “A city,” “Hey Jerry,” and more, reveal researchers from Germany’s Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the Bochum Max Planck Institute.

Siri’s far from the only voice assistant with a weakness when it comes to false triggers, however. The study compiled a list of over 1,000 words that can accidentally activate different A.I. assistants.

Apple shipped 2.6 million HomePods during all-important holiday quarter


Apple debuts HomePod in India at its cheapest price yet
HomePod is still a bit player in the smart speaker market.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple sold just 2.6 million HomePods into the retail channel worldwide in the last three months of 2020, a new report claims. While that is up from the 1.6 million units it shipped the same quarter a year earlier, it’s still a fraction of the total shipped by market leader Amazon.

“The price is still very high,” David Watkins, director at Strategy Analytics, told Cult of Mac. “That closes the door to a huge swathe of potential customers.”