What chance an Apple HomePod Mini? Would Apple be about to release a more compact version of its smart speaker to prevent Google and Amazon?
The original Apple HomePod has been on sale since February 2018 and has not had the smoothest rides. Many people praised it as a speaker, but when it comes to opportunities as a smart home base, there are people who wonder if it is worth its price.
With reports claiming that sales do not perform particularly well, it would be possible to set up a HomePod Mini, and although Apple still needs to provide a confirmation, we've referred to it a few times – a cheaper and smaller HomePod can exactly the same thing the brand has to draw in those who still have to be convinced.
We've already seen how well the Google Home Mini and the Amazon Echo Dot have done, so it would be logical if Apple would follow this example. Regardless of whether it works or not, this is exactly what we would like to see from the HomePod Mini if it ever comes.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? A smaller version of Apple's HomePod speaker
- When is it out? Rumors suggest that we might see it later this year
- What does it cost? No prices yet, but it is probably cheaper than the full-fledged HomePod
Apple HomePod Mini release date
Given that the Apple HomePod Mini has not yet been announced and there is not really a kind of historical pattern when it comes to previous releases for this product, it is difficult to guess a release date.
There are rumors that we could see this product before the end of 2018, but we take this information with a pinch of salt until Apple makes an official announcement. WWDC 2018 came and went without news.
In view of the fact that Samsung has its own smart speaker in the form of the Galaxy Home, Apple may want to take another step sooner than later.
Apple HomePod Mini news and rumors
There is not really an abundance of rumors about HomePod Mini, but there are a few reports that are worth picking up.
One of the more recent rumors about a new HomePod came from a Chinese technology company called Sina, which stated that an affordable HomePod with Beats branding could be in the making.
We have not seen many beats-branded releases since Apple bought the company in 2014, so this may be an opportunity for Apple to breathe new life into the name while the allegedly plodding HomePod is being moved to a brand new (perhaps younger) audience .
According to the report, the new HomePod would cost about $ 199 (about £ 150 AU $ 260), which is in line with previous rumors and would be a way to criticize the high price of the speaker. This is a report that must be taken with a handful of salt.
The first report
Back in March 2018, just a month after the introduction of the HomePod, there was an Economic Daily report that Apple planned to release a more affordable HomePod at a certain time in 2018.
It was rumored that this cheaper HomePod would launch in the US in the second half of 2018 for about $ 200 (about £ 145, AU $ 260), which is considerably lower than the current price of $ 349 / £ 319 / AU $ 499 of the device. In this report it was not made clear how Apple intended to lower the price of its speaker, but a completely new and smaller Apple HomePod Mini could be a way to do this.
What we want to see from the Apple HomePod Mini
Of course, smart speakers all relate to voice controls and the fact that they are standalone devices that do not need to be linked to another audio source to play melodies and podcasts. But sometimes a few added options are just handy – especially if you try to play a track that, for whatever reason, can not be found in the streaming service of the smart speaker of your choice.
It may not be the very latest in the world of smart speakers, but there is another reason why Bluetooth connectivity would be useful – and in case a HomePod Mini is linked to Apple Music, that would be particularly useful for anyone access, for example, wants Spotify streaming. That brings us to our next point …
Open access to other music services
If you buy one of Apple's current HomePod speakers, you're essentially closing into Apple's audio ecosystem. So iTunes buys separately, that's $ 9.99 / £ 9.99 / AU $ 11.99 per month for a single Apple Music streaming account, or $ 14.99 / £ 14.99 / AU $ 17.99 for one family account.
That is fine if you are a disciple of Cupertino who owns an iPhone, and Apple Music is a great service that is certainly worth investing. But if you've already dedicated yourself to Spotify or Google Play Music or one of the other countless smaller streaming options, then that can be a frustrating limitation.
By knocking a few stones out of the walled garden and letting other services take a look, an Apple HomePod Mini could give a userbase boost – and it could be accompanied by incentives to jump to Apple Music, if Apple is a savvy long-game would play.
More color options
The Apple HomePod is certainly an attractive speaker, with its mesh coating and cylindrical size subtle enough to fit in many decors. But that's not always what you're looking for – sometimes you want a gadget that separates you from the pack, as shown by Apple's Beats headphones.
That brand is built around bold, colorful designs and if the rumors that the HomePod Mini Beats branding is going to show up, we would like the speaker to embrace the colorful aesthetics of Beats.
Better Siri performance
Apple & # 39; s HomePod is doing well on sound, but when it comes to smarts, it is somewhat lacking. Compared to Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa, Siri is rather limited in what it can do for you as a smart home hub. This is not great considering it is one of the most expensive smart speakers on the market and Siri is your main way to control it.
With that in mind, we would like to see better Siri performance in a new HomePod iteration when it comes to performing assignments quickly and accurately. There are rumors that Siri is completely cut out of the device to save costs, but we prefer to see some improvements.