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Apple reportedly tested a portable HomePod that never launched

Siri on HomePod mini
Siri on HomePod mini (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says Apple tested a battery-powered HomePod.
  • It's thought that if Apple did launch a portable speaker, it would carry the Beats logo rather than that of Apple.
  • Apple recently killed off the popular Neats Pill+ Bluetooth speaker.

Following the news that Apple has killed off the Beats Pill+ some wondered whether there was a space for a portable HomePod mini of some sort within Apple's lineup. Now, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that Apple has already tested such a thing and seems to have decided against it.

Writing in the weekly Power On newsletter, Gurman says that Apple tested a battery-powered HomePod "years ago" and that he would be surprised if it was to launch anything of that ilk under the Apple brand. Instead, it seems more likely that the Beats logo would adorn such a speaker.

Years ago, Apple internally discussed and prototyped a battery-powered smart speaker, but I would be surprised if one ever launches under the Apple brand. The speakers on the iPhone and iPad are pretty decent at this point, and I'm sure Apple would rather consumers buy those for mobile playback than a cheaper HomePod. If Apple does get back into the battery-powered speaker game, I'd guess it returns under the Beats brand. That's the same place Apple has tucked cheaper audio gear in the past.

Apple has spent time and money making iPhone and iPad speakers as great as possible but they still can't compete with a portable Bluetooth speaker for use around the pool, for example. There are of course tons of different third-party options out there, with Apple perhaps happy to leave them to fill the hole in the market.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.