The original HomePod failed. But Apple was not discouraged. He re-envisioned the product and released the HomePod mini, a less high-tech, more affordable iteration that appears to have been more successful in the marketplace and suggested Apple had bigger ambitions in the home.
Now come the rumors that Apple plans to build a new HomePod. In fact, there are rumors that up to three new HomePods could be on our way. Could it be that, in the same year that the iPod finally faded away, the HomePod morphed from a flop to a key Apple product line?
Is the time. Not just because of the return of the HomePod, but because of the dominance of the HomePod. Two HomePods? I want more. I want four It’s time for Apple to rush back into the smart home game, and the HomePod may lead the way.
The return of the HomePod
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that Apple is working on a new HomePod by the end of this year or early 2023. The logical assumption here is that the HomePod mini will once again get a non-mini counterpart, a bigger speaker that sounds better, but perhaps looks similar. more to a scaled speaker. -up HomePod mini than a revision of the original and expensive HomePod.
It makes sense. The HomePod mini, fun as it is, can’t fill larger rooms with high-quality audio and lags behind the original HomePods in terms of acting as speakers for an Apple TV. There’s room in Apple’s speaker lineup for a more powerful model. Will it satisfy fans of the original HomePods? Probably not, but all it has to be is a little better than the HomePod mini for not much more money. Suddenly, the HomePod is a product line again.
Next stop: Lounge
Could it be true? As someone who has advocated time and time again for Apple to merge the Apple TV and HomePod, I’m excited to pass on that Mark Gurman of Bloomberg thinks this product may finally be on the way.
Perhaps come next year, it would be a single device that would act as Apple TV and Soundbar in one. Connected to your TV, it would fill your room with audio from movies and TV shows, as well as Apple Music, including Spatial Audio. Step 1: Plug in the HomePod TV. Step 2: Plug it into your TV. Step 3: There is no step 3!
Gurman also suggests that this HomePod could also have a Center-Stage-style camera, which also makes sense. Imagine being able to start FaceTime conversations with family members from the couch in your living room, with a camera that’s smart enough to zoom in on wherever you’re sitting in the room. (Actually, it’s a more proper use of Center Stage than Studio Display!)
What’s more, there is nothing in this product that goes beyond the technology that Apple offers today. All Apple has to do is integrate it into one convenient device, and it could be a great way to bring tvOS to many more homes.
The HomePod kitchen?
Another rumored HomePod is one that would be more akin to the Amazon Echo Show and Meta Portal: a voice-controlled smart speaker that also has a screen and camera. Again, this is all the technology Apple currently offers – it would just need to be remixed into a new product that would find a home on a table or in the kitchen.
I have an Echo Show in my kitchen and it’s not a bad product, but it makes me wish for something better. Imagine a Center Stage-style camera, with support for all streaming services through your Apple TV apps. The real challenge would be figuring out the interface for such a device. Was it just… an iPad attached to some speakers? An Apple TV that you can drive with simple gestures?
This is my idea: Just like Amazon does, keep it simple. Offer a remote control and Apple TV mode for simple navigation; in other words, don’t replicate iPadOS, because these kinds of devices aren’t the ones you want to spend a lot of time touching. Also, the killer app for a device like this isn’t one with great interactivity, it’s one that provides ambient information. Let me fill that screen with iOS-style widgets, and you’ve got something good.
As someone who has two original HomePods still in use to this day, I have nothing against the product despite its market failure. And with the iPod now officially buried, the time seems right for the HomePod brand to come to life. That’s a good thing, as it’s time for Apple to spend more time focusing on its line of smart home products.