Chinese Report Says $150-$200 HomePod and $799-$899 MacBook Air to Launch This Year

Apple will launch lower-priced versions of four products this year, including an iPad, iPhone, MacBook Air, and HomePod, according to a translated report from Taiwan's Economic Daily News via Japanese blog Mac Otakara.

macbook air homepod
We've already heard rumors about more affordable iPad, iPhone, and MacBook Air models, but this is the first word of a supposedly lower-priced HomePod being on Apple's roadmap. The speaker is forecast to launch in the second half of 2018 for between $150 and $200 in the United States.

At $349, the current HomePod is considerably more expensive than the Amazon Echo and Google Home for $99 and $129 or less respectively. But the HomePod also has significantly better sound quality than its smart assistant rivals, in line with Apple positioning it as a high-quality speaker first and foremost.

A lower-priced HomePod would certainly be more competitive with the Echo and Google Home, but it's unclear if that would come at the expense of audio quality. One possibility is that Apple will release a smaller HomePod mini that still delivers premium sound relative to other portable speakers in that category.

Here's the full breakdown of the Economic Daily News report, based on what we could gather from a translated version:

  • 9.7-inch iPad for $259: This lines up with a DigiTimes supply chain report from last December that said Apple is considering releasing a cheaper 9.7-inch iPad for $259 in the second quarter of 2018. The current 9.7-inch iPad was released in March 2017 for $349.

  • 6.1-inch iPhone for $649 to $749: This lines up with a prediction from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who expects Apple to launch a mid-range 6.1-inch iPhone with Face ID, but with some design compromises like an LCD rather than OLED display to achieve the lower price point.

  • MacBook Air for $799 to $899: This lines up with another prediction from Kuo, who said Apple will launch a more affordable MacBook Air in the second quarter of 2018. The estimated price range comes from WitsView researcher Yubin Qiu. The current MacBook Air starts at $999.

  • HomePod for $150 to $200: Today's report cites industry sources who expect a more affordable HomePod to launch in the second half of 2018. It's hard to decipher details from the loosely translated report, but Mac Otakara's coverage seems to suggest it will be a smaller speaker.

It's worth noting that these prices are estimates, as it's hard to envision Apple sharing pricing information with its supply chain partners.

Of the four products, the new iPad and MacBook Air are most likely to debut first. Apple is rumored to unveil new devices later this month, but it's unclear if the announcements will be made via press release or at a media event. If there is a keynote planned, invites would certainly have to go out soon.

The new 6.1-inch iPhone should debut in September alongside a new iPhone X and so-called iPhone X Plus, and the lower-priced HomePod could certainly be introduced at the same event. The current HomePod launched in early February.

Related Roundups: MacBook Air, HomePod
Tag: udn.com
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Air (Caution)

Top Rated Comments

ipedro Avatar
51 months ago
HomePod mini...? price won't be mini though. were as Google and Amazon's mini speakers are $25-50 depend on sale
You really think any smart device costs $25? Google isn’t selling hardware at a loss. You’re giving them your data with which they make money off of you and you’re paying $25 for the privilege. I’ll happily pay full price for an Apple device and keep my privacy any day.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
navaira Avatar
51 months ago
more affordable
lower-priced versions
Tim Cook abducted by aliens – confirmed.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iMerik Avatar
51 months ago
I'm ready to buy a MacBook Air with improved screen.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Baymowe335 Avatar
51 months ago
If Apple starts competing on mid-tier, watch out.

They are transforming into a services company and want devices in as many hands as possible. They have essentially owned the high end market and are now going after the middle markets with products that aren't "Cheap" but are more attainable. My guess is they'll be offering a lot more services after sale to fatten margins.

This HomePod "Mini" definitely takes aim at cheaper smart speakers but will be a better product quality (from a sound perspective) than an Echo Dot.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Juicy Box Avatar
51 months ago
Guessing a HomePod Mini is coming.
I'm waiting for the HomePod Plus, or maybe the HomePod Pro.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
EightyTwenty Avatar
50 months ago
HomePod Mini and a Retina MacBook Air would be awesome. Really don't think we'll get to see a Retina MacBook Air though
Forget retina, just give us a damn IPS display at the same resolution and I'd be happy. The current display in the Air is a washed-out disaster.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

AirPods Pro Gen 3 Mock Feature Red

AirPods Pro 2 Could Start a New Accessory Ecosystem

Friday January 14, 2022 2:34 am PST by
Apple's second-generation AirPods Pro could arrive alongside a new series of accessories, recent leaked images suggest. Alleged leaked photos of the next-generation AirPods Pro obtained by MacRumors showed a charging case with a metal loop on the side for attaching a strap. Apple has not used this design for any of its other AirPod models and it is unclear why it would be added in this...
netflix2

Netflix Again Raises Prices for All Plans, 4K Streaming Now $20 Per Month

Friday January 14, 2022 12:46 pm PST by
Netflix today updated the prices for its streaming plans, and all of its offerings are now more expensive. The Basic plan is now priced at $9.99 per month, the Standard plan is priced at $15.49 per month, and the Premium plan is priced at $19.99 per month. The Basic plan is $1 more expensive, up from $8.99 per month. This plan allows users to watch on just one screen at a time, and it limits ...
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole 16x9 120hz

Analyst: All iPhone 14 Models to Feature 120Hz Displays, 6GB of RAM, and More

Friday January 14, 2022 7:02 am PST by
Apple is rumored to announce four new iPhone 14 models in September, and ahead of time, analyst Jeff Pu has outlined his expectations for the devices. In a research note with Haitong International Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Pu claimed that all iPhone 14 models will feature ProMotion displays, compared to only Pro models currently. ProMotion enables a variable refresh rate up to 120Hz ...
ios 15

Apple Releases Minor iOS 15.2.1 and iPadOS 15.2.1 Updates

Wednesday January 12, 2022 10:05 am PST by
Apple today released minor 15.2.1 updates for iPhone and iPad users, and the software comes one month after Apple launched iOS 15.2 and iPadOS 15.2 with a slew of improvements. The iOS 15.2.1 and iPadOS 15.2.1 update can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General >...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With LG's 32-Inch UltraFine OLED Pro Display

Wednesday January 12, 2022 1:12 pm PST by
LG in December announced the launch of its new 2022 32-inch UltraFine OLED Pro display, and in our latest YouTube video, we went hands-on with it to see how it compares to Apple's Pro Display XDR and whether it might be worth picking up depending on the price point. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Officially named the "32BP95E," the display features a resolution of ...
iPad Pro Big Ol Logo Orange

Next iPad Pro Might Feature Large Glass Apple Logo to Allow Wireless Charging

Friday January 14, 2022 10:44 am PST by
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Debby Wu last year reported that Apple had tested a new iPad Pro with a glass back for wireless charging capabilities. In a recent edition of his newsletter, Gurman said he expects the new iPad Pro to be released in 2022. While the new iPad Pro is still on track to feature wireless charging, 9to5Mac's Filipe Espósito today reported that Apple may have ultimately...
iPhone 14 Mock pill and hole

iPhone 14 Pro Now Rumored to Feature Both Pill-Shaped and Circular Cutouts

Wednesday January 12, 2022 9:26 am PST by
Apple is widely expected to remove the notch on iPhone 14 Pro models, but there have been conflicting rumors about the new design. Early rumors suggested that Apple would adopt a hole-punch design with Face ID somehow moved completely under the display, and later it was rumored that there would be a pill-shaped cutout instead. Now, display industry consultant Ross Young has claimed that...
fortnite apple logo geforce feature

Fortnite Coming Back to iOS Soon Thanks to Nvidia's GeForce NOW Service

Thursday January 13, 2022 11:19 am PST by
With the Apple vs. Epic Games lawsuit continuing on, there are no signs that Apple has any intention of allowing popular battle royale game Fortnite to return to the App Store on iPhone and iPad. Epic Games has found a workaround though, by partnering up with Nvidia. GeForce NOW, Nvidia's streaming gaming service, will soon add Fortnite support, allowing Fortnite to be played through a...
iMac 27 inch 2020 sale

Deals: Apple's 21.5-Inch iMac Hits Record Low Price of $599.99 ($499 Off) [Update: Out of Stock]

Thursday January 13, 2022 4:05 am PST by
Amazon today has a great deal on the 2017 Intel 21.5-inch iMac (2.3GHz, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD), priced at $599.99, down from $1,099.00. This is the best price we've ever tracked on this model, and it's only available at Amazon. The sale price will be reflected after an automatic coupon is applied at checkout. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a...