Technology

Will Apple announce a HomePod Mini on Oct. 13? Here’s what we know


Tyler Lizenby/PJDM

Apple’s HomePod debuted in 2018. It had a $349 price ticket, great sound and the danger of placing white rings on your tabletop. Since then, regardless of some good iterations on the HomePod’s options by way of periodic software program updates, Apple hasn’t made a lot progress within the smart home, at the same time as Amazon and Google proceed to expand their audiences for Alexa and Google Assistant merchandise throughout the board.

However based on a Bloomberg report earlier this 12 months, Apple is not giving up on the HomePod. In line with “individuals acquainted with the plans,” Apple is planning to launch a smaller and cheaper HomePod. Particulars are few, however sources say that the brand new HomePod will probably be roughly half the dimensions of the unique. It can maintain the identical design, simply on a smaller scale.

Apple did not announce the brand new speaker at its on-line Worldwide Builders Convention in June as some anticipated, nor at its September occasion. With the announcement of an Oct. 13 event, rumors are again in circulation a couple of attainable HomePod Mini. A report from Bloomberg earlier this 12 months tipped the brand new HomePod for an October launch.

New HomePod hub know-how

Broadly-followed Apple analyst Jon Prosser just lately tweeted hypothesis that the brand new HomePod will probably be a UWB (ultra-wide band) hub for different UWB-enabled Apple units like iPhones, Apple Watches and the rumored AirTags. 

In an earlier tweet, Prosser identified that Apple plans to have the U1 chip chargeable for this tech in a number of different new Apple merchandise. We do know that the Apple Watch Series 6 and iPhone 11 models have already got this chip.

With UWB tech, the brand new HomePod might be capable of very precisely find different objects with a U1 chip and collect information for controlling different units. That stands to reimagine interactions between HomePod and different Apple merchandise in a (hopefully) extra helpful manner. 

Learn extra: How to watch the Apple event on Oct. 13

Pricing premonitions 

There is no phrase on a value for the second-generation HomePod, however a smaller dimension doubtless means a smaller value as effectively. Present hypothesis is $99, nonetheless twice the price of the massively fashionable (and sometimes on sale) $50 Amazon Echo Dot and Google Nest Mini audio system.

Since launching the HomePod, Apple has decreased the value of its good speaker from its authentic $349 to $299, although it periodically goes on sale for $199 within the US. In latest months, reports circulated that Apple is providing staff a 50% low cost on the HomePod with a restrict of 10 per worker (up from simply two). Might these value drops point out a inventory clear-out?  

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Google and Amazon’s fashionable small good audio system rule the market. 


Chris Monroe/PJDM

New patents from Apple

There are additionally rumors stirring round Apple’s 2019 filing of a patent for a “Material-Lined Digital Gadget with Contact Sensor.” The patent’s summary description reads:

An digital system resembling a speaker system could have a curved housing characterised by a vertical longitudinal axis. A layer of material could cowl the curved housing. A contact sensor could also be used to detect contact enter on the layer of material. The contact sensor could embody capacitive contact sensor electrodes together with drive strains and sense strains.

It additionally goes on to explain light-emitting parts to mark the place contact sensors are situated. That is fairly completely different from the stable plastic high of the present HomePod, and just like the present contact material design of the Nest Mini and model new Nest Audio

Even with a slimmer design and higher value, Apple nonetheless has good dwelling challenges to beat. Apple’s slender collection of music streaming companies and shorter list of suitable good dwelling merchandise make it a tricky promote to anybody not solely residing the Appleverse.

Siri remains to be an issue

Then there’s the difficulty of Siri as an assistant. In comparison with the ever-evolving and personable voice assistants from Google and Amazon, Siri falls brief. Interactions simply feel less natural, and sometimes easy requests aren’t dealt with as seamlessly as Google or Alexa. We have spent hours with all three and found there are some things Siri just can’t do

Whether or not they’re rumors or fanboy want lists, a HomePod sequel would definitely want some mixture of wider music service help and critical Siri upgrades — along with that presumed value minimize — with a view to have good home-savvy consumers give the Apple speaker a re-examination.

Bonus rumor: Apple AirTags

If the opportunity of a HomePod sequel would not increase your eyebrows, there are different Apple merchandise rumored to be making debuts this 12 months. In addition to the perennially rumored Apple TV upgrade, Apple could also be stepping into the tracker recreation as effectively with a product rumored to be referred to as AirTags or Apple Tags.

In line with Bloomberg’s sources, the tags will enable customers to trace objects like wallets or keys, very similar to the Tile trackers you should purchase immediately. MacRumors additionally identified an AirTags mention in an Apple support video (subsequently deleted) and screenshots shared with the website depicting AirTag setup. 

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Sometimes held at Apple Park in Cupertino, California, the annual Worldwide Builders Convention will probably be digital this 12 months.


James Martin/PJDM

Even when these merchandise are up subsequent for Apple, coronavirus-related delays might imply a later launch. The Wall Street Journal in April reported a delay in Apple’s manufacturing of the most recent iPhone. With manufacturing throughout Asia closely impacted and customers spending much less on big-ticket objects, that delay might prolong to different Apple merchandise just like the HomePod or AirTags.

Final 12 months, there have been stories of Apple expanding its HomeKit team and prepping for brand new merchandise. That gave us hope that Apple had a renewed curiosity within the related dwelling. If Apple is certainly planning to press ahead into the good dwelling, it actually ought to begin with an improved HomePod. Keep tuned to PJDM’s protection of Tuesday’s occasion for all issues Apple.

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Molly Price