When Apple started selling the HomePod mini in November 2020, the days of the standard HomePod were numbered, and inevitably the larger device was discontinued in March 2021. However, there may be another new HomePod in the future — one equipped with a screen and combination features from other Apple devices.
There are even rumors that three new HomePods could be on the horizon.
Read on to find out what the HomePod has in store and how Apple is improving its speaker, with rumors hinting that the next model could be bigger, have a screen and the ability to hold conference calls.
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New HomePod: Release Date
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo tweeted in May 2022 that Apple is working on a new HomePod for later this year or early 2023.
Kuo isn’t alone in expecting a new HomePod. A June 2022 Power On newsletter from Apple rumor Mark Gurman suggests we won’t see a new HomePod in 2022, but Gurman does indicate it could be a product of a “deluge coming between the fall of 2022 and the first half of 2023.”
He wrote, “The company’s first mixed-reality headset, low-end and high-end iPads, updated AirPods Pro earbuds, a new HomePod, and an upgraded Apple TV.”
So it’s quite possible that we could see a new HomePod in the spring of 2023.
We believe the absence of a screen – and the over-reliance on Siri – has been one of the HomePod’s biggest shortcomings. We believe that a screen would help users interact with the device and access it as a platform for viewing other content, such as YouTube videos and news stories.
A Bloomberg report from Gurman in April 2021 discussed Apple’s plans for two future Apple products that seem to indicate that Apple was at least considering making a HomePod with a screen. These rumored products include:
A product that combines the HomePod and Apple TV with a camera that can be used for video conferencing through the TV screen.
A product that combines a smart speaker with a touchscreen – it can combine an iPad with a HomePod and mount a camera on a robotic arm that can actually follow the user around the room during a video chat.
Read more about that Bloomberg report here: Apple plans hybrid HomePod/Apple TV and HomePod/iPad products. A second Bloomberg report from Gurman in May 2021 also mentioned Apple’s plans to sell these hybrid HomePod products as such.
And in April 2022, Gurman again referred to these plans, stating that Apple is “definitely” still working on a new HomePod, which Gurman says will combine a HomePod, Apple TV, and FaceTime camera into a single “combination product that will likely be at the center of.” Apple’s approach.”
If Apple launches a HomePod with a screen, it will help the HomePod compete with devices from Google and Amazon that have been combining a speaker with a screen for some time, such as the Amazon Echo Show (you can buy the Echo Show 15 at Amazon USA for $239.99 or Amazon United Kingdom for £239.99.)
There are then plans for Apple to give the HomePod a screen, perhaps combining it with an iPad or an Apple TV. The April 2021 Bloomberg report indicated that these two projects aimed at combining the HomePod with other Apple products are underway at Apple, but at the time they were still in the concept phase – it is not known whether Apple closer to realizing them.
For more ideas on how Apple could reinvent the HomePod, read: How the HomePod Could Be Apple’s New iPod: Fun, Popular, and Simple. Plus, could Apple’s rumored HomePod actually be a small studio display?
New HomePod: Design
According to Gurman’s June newsletter, the new HomePod will be more like the original HomePod – so expect something bigger and with better audio performance than the HomePod mini.
While it is not known whether this new HomePod will include a screen, according to the above rumor, this new HomePod could have an updated screen, according to Gurman. The screen may also have multi-touch functionality.
As for the HomePod with a screen, the April 2021 Bloomberg talked about a HomePod with a screen mounted on a robotic arm so the camera could follow you around the room. To get an idea of what this might look like, all we need to do is look at the Amazon Echo Show 10, which combines a screen that moves automatically with Amazon’s speaker. The Echo Show 10 costs £239.99 / $249.99. Buy one here (UK) and here (US).
Foundry / Jim Martin
Swiss website Handy Abovergleich and designer Eric Huismann have created a series of concept illustrations of what this next-generation HomePod could look like. They came up with concept designs for two separate devices: the HomePod TV (a mix of the HomePod and the Apple TV) and the HomePod Show (a HomePod with a touchscreen display).
This is what they imagine the HomePod Show – a speaker with a camera and a touchscreen – might look like.
New HomePod: Specifications and Features
According to Gurman, the new HomePod is codenamed B620. Here’s what we can expect in terms of specs and features:
Gurman indicates that the new HomePod will have the same S8 chip as the new Apple Watch 8, Apple Watch Pro and Apple Watch SE.
The new HomePod could include a camera, as rumored in the Bloomberg piece. With a camera built into the HomePod, it would be possible to join a video conference on the TV screen.
A camera can also be used to recognize gestures. A few years ago, a patent was filed that covered a future HomePod that could interpret 3D hand gestures. See more at Patently Apple.
The patent describes a HomePod that can “interpret three-dimensional hand gestures as a means of controlling the device to perform an action or function.”
Maybe not the screen we hope for, but a more interactive screen than the one we currently have. We would like to see more than just volume controls.
Will Apple Combine HomePod and Apple TV?
Combining the HomePod and Apple TV does indeed look like something that is being explored by Apple. The Bloomberg report above mentions it, but that wasn’t the first indication that something like this was planned.
In April 2020, it appeared that Apple had ported the software on the HomePod from iOS to tvOS, according to a 9to5Mac report. Such a step makes it even easier to combine those products in the future.
What’s less obvious is what Apple would achieve by combining the HomePod and Apple TV. Those looking for audio enhancements can already use the HomePod as the audio output of their Apple TV.
The Swiss website Handy Abovergleich did come up with an illustration of what this might look like. They call it the HomePod TV – the bar below the TV becomes not only the hub for TV, the Internet and smart devices, but also a sound system with support for standards such as Dolby Atmos and Apple Lossless.