A revamped, full-size HomePod is coming back in 2023

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
  • Ming-Chi Kuo (72.5% accurate) was the first to report on Apple’s plans to resurrect a larger HomePod

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).

New HomePod said to release as soon as Q4 2022

The rumor: Apple is planning to drop “a new version of HomePod in 4Q22-1Q23,” according to Ming-Chi Kuo (72.5% accurate).

  • Kuo doesn’t clarify whether he is talking about a new HomePod mini…or if Apple is planning to bring back the original HomePod that was discontinued in 2021
  • 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…

Apple discontinued the HomePod. Now it’s selling for over $500 new.

The news: Getting your hands on an original HomePod is getting harder and prices are soaring, as noted first by 9to5Mac’s Chance Miller.

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.

Apple canceled their battery-powered HomePod

The rumor: Apple once planned a HomePod that wasn’t restricted to the home, according to Mark Gurman (87% accurate, via Power On).

  • “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” Gurman says
  • Apple recently discontinued the Beats Pill+ which was the last battery-powered speaker that they sold…the only option now is HomePod mini

Our take: Why Apple canceled this is beyond me. There are very few great Bluetooth speakers and I think Apple’s audio team could nail it. In the meantime, I’d recommend the Roam from Sonos.

Apple discontinues Beats Pill+ speaker and now doesn’t sell any Bluetooth speakers

The news: Apple’s first cancelation of 2022 has been the quite removal of the outdated Beats Pill+ speaker, as first spotted by 9to5Mac.

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.

Blue, orange and yellow HomePod mini colors now available for purchase

The news: After their unveil in October, Apple has officially released new colors for the HomePod mini today.

  • You can now buy the new blue, orange and yellow colors in-store or order them to be delivered as soon as November 3
  • AppleTrack previously reported that the new colors would become available this week

Our take: Linking some hands-on of the new colors below so you can get a better real-world look at them. I must saw the yellow looks pretty dope.

Exclusive: New HomePod mini colors will be available next week

The exclusive: The final products announced at Apple’s October ‘Unleashed’ event will release next week, according to people familiar with the matter.

  • New Blue, Orange and Yellow color options for HomePod mini will be available for order as soon as Monday, the people said
  • The fresh colors that were announced alongside third-generation AirPods and redesigned MacBook Pro models earlier this month join the existing lineup of Space Gray and White

Our take: While Apple has confirmed the new colors will launch in November, they haven’t provided an official date. We’re hearing November 1.

Apple releases new colors for HomePod mini

The news: Apple just dropped fresh colors for the 2020 HomePod mini at the ‘Unleashed’ Apple event.

  • Yellow, orange and blue are new to the lineup and retail at $99 like white and black
  • The new colors will be available in November

Apple TV/HomePod/FaceTime combo device not launching until 2023

The rumor: Apple’s wild new device set to revitalize the Apple TV line is still years away, according to Mark Gurman (88.8% accurate, via Power On).

  • Apple is “developing a combined Apple TV, HomePod and FaceTime camera home hub device for release around 2023” Gurman says
  • Gurman first described this device a few months ago—while mentioning it was in early development—but it appears that Apple is still working on it presently

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?

‘HomePod G4’ & ‘HomePod TV’ concepts depict radical designs for future products

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

Future HomePod + Apple TV combo device may feature camera & more

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…