Technology

Will Apple announce a new HomePod 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, whilst 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. Based on “individuals conversant in the plans,” Apple is planning to launch a smaller and cheaper HomePod. Particulars are few, however sources say that the brand new HomePod might be roughly half the scale of the unique. It would preserve 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 doable HomePod Mini. A report from Bloomberg earlier this 12 months tipped the brand new HomePod for an October launch.

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

Pricing premonitions 

There is not any phrase on a value for the second-generation HomePod, however a smaller measurement probably means a smaller value as properly. That is the most important step Apple can take to compete with the vastly well-liked (and sometimes on sale) $50 Amazon Echo Dot and Google Nest Mini audio system.

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

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Google and Amazon’s well-liked 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 System with Contact Sensor.” The patent’s summary description reads:

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

It additionally goes on to explain light-emitting parts to mark the place contact sensors are positioned. That is fairly totally different from the strong plastic prime of the present HomePod, and much 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 residence challenges to beat. Apple’s slim choice of music streaming providers and shorter list of appropriate good residence merchandise make it a troublesome promote to anybody not solely residing the Appleverse.

Siri continues 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 quick. 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 severe Siri upgrades — along with that presumed value reduce — with the intention to have good home-savvy customers give the Apple speaker a re-evaluation.

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. Moreover the perennially rumored Apple TV upgrade, Apple could also be moving into the tracker recreation as properly with a product rumored to be referred to as AirTags or Apple Tags.

Based on Bloomberg’s sources, the tags will permit customers to trace gadgets like wallets or keys, very similar to the Tile trackers you should buy as we speak. 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 might 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 gadgets, that delay might prolong to different Apple merchandise just like the HomePod or AirTags.

Final 12 months, there have been experiences of Apple expanding its HomeKit team and prepping for brand spanking new merchandise. That gave us hope that Apple had a renewed curiosity within the linked residence. If Apple is certainly planning to press ahead into the good residence, 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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Author

Molly Price