Apple’s 2022 smart home offering can best be described as mediocre, but that could change very soon, according to a new report. In his latest Power On newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says Apple is developing no fewer than four new devices to expand its range of smart home, which could be released early next year.
According to the report, the devices likely to arrive first are an updated HomePod mini and the re-emergence of the full-size HomePod. Gurman says the updated mini won’t be “super-impressive” and won’t have any details about it other than an updated chip. With such a minor update in the works, it’s possible that Apple will refresh the mini at some point without a press release, or disguise the internal changes by launching new colors.
Much more interesting is the notorious return of the high-end HomePod speaker. The original HomePod, which was discontinued in 2021 after just three years on the market, has since grown in popularity as remaining stock has dried up and Apple may want to rekindle interest with an updated model.
Has Apple learned from the apparent commercial failure of the original HomePod? Gurman describes a new device that largely resembles the one Apple disabled, but with the same S8 chip as the Apple Watch Series 8 (the original HomePod had an A8, while the mini had an S5) and a multi-touch display on it. the top of the device; it will continue to focus heavily on audio performance. He expects the new speaker to be launched in early 2023.
Even more intriguing, Apple’s smart home ambitions aren’t limited to speakers. Echoing previous rumors, Gurman says Apple continues to explore new home devices, including a speaker with an iPad-like display and an Apple TV with a built-in camera. Like Amazon’s various Alexa-based Echo smart speakers, these devices are designed to be placed anywhere in the house and help with various tasks, such as cooking, FaceTime calls, and home automation.
Don’t hold your breath. Gurman doesn’t expect any of these new devices to arrive in 2024 at the earliest, warning that “not everyone will see the light of day.” But it’s promising direction for a segment of Apple’s product lineup that hasn’t always given the company credit.