HomePod was designed to go almost anywhere in the room and provide you the best audio experience possible no matter where you put it or where you listened. And it's been largely successful at that, easily out-performing existing, cheap smart-speakers and giving more expensive speakers a run for their money. But that's just the first generation. Like almost all of its products, Apple is going to continue to iterate and improve on HomePod over time. That could include a next-generation HomePod 2. It could also include an all-new HomePod mini. And, of course, Apple's periodic software updates.
July 23, 2018: Phone call features reportedly coming to HomePod with iOS 12
Just like iPhone, HomePod runs iOS, and that means it gets updates. Rumor has it some of the most often requested features will finally be coming in iOS 12.
From iGeneration, with help from Google Translate:
One of the big news of this update will concern the phone. You'll be able to make phone calls from your HomePod, answer a call, redial a number, search your call log, listen to messages on your voicemail, or call the emergency. It is currently unclear if FaceTime Audio will be supported. However, it will be possible to use the "Locate my iPhone" feature from the Apple speaker! Finally, the HomePod can manage several timers at a time.
The site also says Calendars are coming to French versions, and Spanish support is on its way as well.
May 21, 2018: Apple reportedly planning Beats-branded HomePod for $199
A highly suspect report claims that Apple is planning a less expensive, Beats-branded HomePod. The device would cost $199, according to an anonymous supply chain source in Taiwan (via Loveios):
According to Taiwan's supply chain source (Via Sina), Apple is in talk with MediaTek to launch a cheap version of its HomePod speakers to grab more market share. Statistics show that HomePod sold only 600,000 units in the first quarter of this year, which is a lot worse than Google and Amazon.
The anonymous source claimed that Apple is preparing to announce the cheap version of HomePod. However, it will not be linked to Apple's name. Instead, it will be under the Beats brand. As for price, the low-priced model would cost around $199, which is far cheaper than current HomePod's cost.
March 6, 2018: Less expensive HomePod rumored for end-of-year
From The Economic Daily:
The industry also reported that there will be a cheap version of HomePod in the second half of the market, the lowest price may be the current HomePod new product, challenge Amazon's supremacy in the smart speaker.
Whether or not that's a HomePod mini, made less expensive by virtue of being smaller, remains to be seen.
Will Apple make HomePod 2 water resistant?
Because everyone wants to take HomePod into the bath, shower, hot tub, out in the rain, and into the swimming pool, right?
It's possible Apple will one day expand its HomePod lineup to include a more outdoor-friendly version. A lot of the way the current version works depends on smaller, more confined spaces and acoustically transparent fabric coverings. In other words, a rugged version would likely be a very different product.
What about a display? Could HomePod 2 have a display?
Amazon and Google both have home assistants with a display. Apple has iPad. That said, the current HomePod display isn't very useful. It lacks both glanceability (because it's on the top and not the side), or detailed (because it's really just a waveform, not a real screen.)
So, some type of improved visual indicator would be most welcome.
Will there be more colors for HomePod 2?
Product Red and Rose Gold all the things? While Apple has gone from single colors to nano-chromatics over the years, in order to fit in with the decor of most homes, it feels like HomePod will stay neutral whites and grays. (But, seriously, Product Red all the things.)
Can we at least get a HomePod mini?
Not everyone wants or needs a room-filling speaker. For some, a smaller speaker for the kitchen, bedroom, or children's room, or to travel with and take in the camper or to the hotel room, would be ideal. A HomePod mini, so to speak.
It still wouldn't be a $50 Amazon Echo competitor — Apple wouldn't do cheap speakers any more than it would do cheap netbooks — but it would be a less expensive speaker for those who want to fill smaller rooms and nooks.
What about a cheaper HomePod non-mini?
It's just as likely Apple will follow the typical iOS device strategy instead: When a new HomePod is released, the old one will be price-dropped by $100, or a new but less expensive version will be introduced — like iPhone 5c or Apple Watch Series 1 — that fills that price point in the lineup.
Any HomePod the next generation questions?
If you have an ideas, questions, or comments on HomePod 2 or HomePod mini, drop them below!
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