Is Apple getting ready to shake up its lackluster smart home lineup?
As first reported by Bloomberg analyst Mark Gurman in his latest Power On Bulletin (opens in new tab)the tech giant is reportedly working on “at least four” new smart home products – with a HomePod 2, an updated HomePod mini, and several never-before-seen devices among that number.
Not every device in development will hit the market, Gurman suggests, but the new HomePod and HomePod mini are believed to be accompanied by a kitchen-based smart display and a living room device designed to connect an Apple TV, camera and HomePod. .
The first of the latter two devices is described as being a smart speaker with an “iPad-like” screen – which sounds to us like an attempt by Apple to rival Amazon’s flagship Echo Show home assistant.
Gurman’s report marks the first time we’ve heard of any device mentioned in detail online – although rumors of a Speaker-sized Apple TV (opens in new tab) have been running for several months now – and he writes that at least one of them could arrive late next year or early 2024.
As for the HomePod 2 (codenamed B620) news, Gurman had previously joined Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo to report on its ongoing development. The device is expected to run the same S8 chip as the Apple Watch 8 and is scheduled to arrive later this year.
It’s still unclear what upgrades might be headed for an upgraded HomePod mini, though we’re anticipating a redesign of the form factor and the addition of Dolby Atmos Spatial Audio support (a feature boasted by its bigger brother).
Apple discontinued the HomePod in March of last year to focus on servicing the mini, which (presumably) had much stronger sales the year after its October 2020 launch. So it was a surprise to learn that the original HomePod might be getting an update before the mini – although both devices now appear in the queue for a successor.
As mentioned, the HomePod 2 (or whatever Apple ends up calling it) should arrive later this year or early 2023. For everything we know so far about a sequel to Apple’s flagship smart home device, head over to our hub. dedicated.