Smaller, Lower-Priced HomePod Appears Increasingly Closer to Launching
Apple is rumored to have a smaller, lower-priced HomePod on deck for later this year, and there are increasing signs that the new model could be on the horizon.
In addition to Best Buy offering the HomePod on sale for $199.99 this week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman notes that Apple employees are now able to purchase up to 10 HomePods at a 50 percent discount, up from a limit of two. The larger purchase limit could be part of Apple's efforts to clear out inventory of the current HomePod ahead of the new model.
Apple employees can also now buy up to 10 (up from 2) with their discount. These things are clearly on the way out. https://t.co/X0ey2QKbxC https://t.co/8sXDf6ifmr — Mark Gurman (@markgurman) May 18, 2020
In addition, the HomePod was listed as "sold out" on Apple's online store in the United States last week, although only briefly.
Over the last few years, Apple has been steadily making the HomePod more useful by adding features such as Handoff support, multi-user voice detection, ambient sounds, and multi-room audio, but Siri is still widely criticized. To that end, Gurman previously noted that the smaller HomePod will coincide with Siri improvements later this year.
At launch in 2018, the HomePod cost $349, but Apple reduced the price of the speaker to $299 in April 2019. Apple has never disclosed HomePod sales, instead grouping the speaker under its "Wearables, Home, and Accessories" category.
While the HomePod is positioned as a premium speaker, it has several low-priced competitors on the smart assistant front, including the Amazon Echo and Google Home, which can often be purchased for as little as $25. Apple's smaller HomePod will likely have two tweeters, down from seven in the current model, according to Gurman's previous reporting.