The rumor: Apple is working on a bigger HomePod once again, according to Mark Gurman (86.5% accurate, via Power On).
“The HomePod, code-named B620, will run the same S8 chip coming to the watches and will be closer to the original HomePod in terms of size and audio performance rather than a new HomePod mini,” Gurman says
There’s also said to be a new display on top that could support multi-touch for the first time
Sam’s take: My original HomePod is showing its age more and more each day as the A8 chip (also found in iPhone 6) is 8 years old at this point. I’m ready for a new full-size HomePod to drop…even if that means waiting until next year for it. Maybe that’ll give Apple enough time to make the smart speaker side of the experience more reliable than it is now (which is, not reliable at all).
Either way, the new version won’t look much different, as Apple isn’t rumored to be changing much of the hardware design
We could see this new HomePod as soon as October…but also as late as March 2023
Sam’s take: The fact the the HomePod mini isn’t specifically mentioned here is really interesting to me, as I feel Kuo would’ve clarified that he was referring to a new version of the mini if that’s what we were getting. It almost sounds like Apple could be resurrecting the original HomePod in some way? But this is just my speculation, to be clear. Perhaps it’s that Apple TV x HomePod combo device we’ve been hearing about…
Now, that original HomePod (which used to retail for $299 new) is going for an average of $350 on eBay
Even crazier? Some factory sealed models selling for upwards of $500, as noted by The Verge
Sam’s take: The original HomePod as an “appreciating asset.” I never thought I’d see the day.
Since its discontinuation last year, I have noticed a small but vocal minority of folks talking about buying up the remaining stock online…I just didn’t think much of it because I assumed there would be a ton of new, opened models around for years at sub-MSRP. Apparently not. Folks are buying these up way more frequently than I think I or anyone else expected, begging the question: why hasn’t Apple made a suitable replacement?
I get that the first HomePod was pretty hit-or-miss, but I do think the market wants some kind of proper follow up to the HomePod. Maybe this time, just around the $249 mark.
Our take: I honestly forgot about this until I saw the headlines that Apple discontinued it. Which I don’t blame myself for, considering that it was last updated in 2015 and has been greatly out shadowed by the HomePod mini (which is much cheaper). Really, I’m just sad (and confused?) that Apple doesn’t make a really good Bluetooth speaker. It seems like such an obvious product that they could nail…considering that they literally make HomePod speakers already.
Our take: If this device that is supposed to be the savior to the Apple TV line doesn’t describe the current situation of the Apple TV & HomePod, then I don’t know what does: it’s confusing and chaotic with no clear path forward. How can Apple nail a product like iPhone or Mac yet be so clueless for their audio/visual suites?
The concepts: Following a fresh report from Mark Gurman (89.9% accurate) about the future of the HomePod, designers have released new concepts for what the products could look like.
In a simplistic image posted to Twitter, @pwign shares his vision of an iMac G4-style device: a HomePod base and swiveling arm that connects to an iPad Air
Writing for 9to5Mac, Parker Ortolani concepts both a sound bar-like Apple TV and iMac-inspired HomePod with iPad fascia
Our take: As much as I felt like these products could be a design disaster earlier, these concepts are quite something. A ‘HomePod G4’ would work super well in my kitchen and, well, we’re all still waiting for a significant Apple TV upgrade…
The rumor: Apple is working on new, combo versions of the HomePod, according to Mark Gurman (89.1% accurate).
Gurman notes the devices is in “early development,” and would include features from both HomePod, Apple TV and include a camera for video calling
There’s a second device in the works, too: “Apple has explored connecting the iPad to the speaker with a robotic arm that can move to follow a user around a room, similar to Amazon’s latest Echo Show gadget.”
Our take: Apple’s future HomePods sound like a stark departure from the smart speaker category they’ve explored historically. I’ll be honest–the robotic arm HomePod/iPad combo sounds pretty cheesy. I just hope it won’t look like what I’m imaging in the header image, though…