Technology

Will Apple announce a new HomePod on Oct. 13? Here’s what we’ve heard


Tyler Lizenby/PJDM

Apple’s HomePod debuted in 2018. It had a $349 price ticket, great sound and the chance of placing white rings on your tabletop. Since then, regardless of some good iterations on the HomePod’s options through 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 in accordance with 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 will likely be roughly half the dimensions of the unique. It is going to 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 few potential 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 seemingly means a smaller value as nicely. That is the most important step Apple can take to compete with the vastly in style (and infrequently on sale) $50 Amazon Echo Dot and Google Nest Mini audio system.

Since launching the HomePod, Apple has decreased the worth of its sensible 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 in style small sensible 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 gadget reminiscent of a speaker gadget could have a curved housing characterised by a vertical longitudinal axis. A layer of cloth could cowl the curved housing. A contact sensor could also be used to detect contact enter on the layer of cloth. The contact sensor could embrace capacitive contact sensor electrodes together with drive traces and sense traces.

It additionally goes on to explain light-emitting elements to mark the place contact sensors are positioned. That is fairly totally different from the strong plastic prime of the present HomePod, and just like the present contact cloth design of the Nest Mini and model new Nest Audio

Even with a slimmer design and higher value, Apple nonetheless has sensible dwelling challenges to beat. Apple’s slender collection of music streaming companies and shorter list of appropriate sensible dwelling 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 infrequently 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 will surely want some mixture of wider music service help and critical Siri upgrades — along with that presumed value reduce — with a view to have sensible home-savvy customers give the Apple speaker a re-examination.

Bonus rumor: Apple AirTags

If the potential for a HomePod sequel would not increase your eyebrows, there are different Apple merchandise rumored to be making debuts this 12 months. Apart from the perennially rumored Apple TV upgrade, Apple could also be moving into the tracker recreation as nicely with a product rumored to be known as AirTags or Apple Tags.

Based on Bloomberg’s sources, the tags will enable customers to trace objects like wallets or keys, very like the Tile trackers you should purchase at this time. 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 likely 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 latest iPhone. With manufacturing throughout Asia closely impacted and shoppers 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 spanking new merchandise. That gave us hope that Apple had a renewed curiosity within the linked dwelling. If Apple is certainly planning to press ahead into the sensible 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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Author

Molly Price